New Metro: The best of two newspapers

Metro is the largest free newspaper in the Netherlands. In October it is set to become an even stronger Dutch news brand, when it will merge with TMG’s other free daily newspaper, Sp!ts. The area where Metro is distributed is to be expanded, and it will be raising its circulation to an average of 510,000 copies a day. On top of this, Metro will be boosted by the inclusion of the most popular sections from Sp!ts. The result will be the creation of a more complete newspaper with many more pages than previously, and one that will reach an even wider audience. It means that the two largest newspapers in the Netherlands, De Telegraaf and Metro, will be published by Telegraaf Media Groep. The final edition of Sp!ts will appear in October.

From October the enhanced Metro will be available from every location at which Sp!ts is currently given away. De Telegraaf and Metro will then occupy the top two positions among Dutch newspapers. Once De Telegraaf has changed over to a tabloid format in the fourth quarter of 2014, advertisers will find it even easier to place their advertising campaigns in both publications and to benefit from the unprecedented joint readership of them both.

‘Whether on their way to work or school, from October readers will be able to enjoy a Metro that is even better and has even more to offer than do the current versions of Sp!ts or Metro,’ explains publisher Cees Polman. ‘The fact that De Telegraaf is adopting a tabloid format later this year means that this is a logical opportunity for merging the best of Metro and Sp!ts into one free newspaper. This will make it much simpler for advertisers to run a single campaign in the two largest newspapers in the Netherlands. That is a very powerful position that we would not have had with two separate free newspapers.’

In order to further strengthen the position of Metro as a news brand, the newspaper’s editorial team will be keeping their readers up to date all day, on paper and online. Smartphones and tablets are particularly important channels. ‘Anyone who uses public transport knows how important mobile services are for travellers’, says Editor-in-chief Robert van Brandwijk. ‘We want to reach and capture the interest of as many people as possible with our news and our reports every day. We want to be of service to our readers as effectively as possible throughout the day, using whatever platform they prefer at any given time. We will soon be sharing the latest news from Metro directly via  our website. The newspaper remains the ideal channel for background and more detailed information, so it will be in the paper version that the events of the past 24 hours, and of the next 24 hours, will be given additional coverage.’

There will be other changes too. The advertising options in Metro are to be expanded with more creative forms, and there will be greater branded content possibilities as well. Extra space will also be available for new initiatives in Metro, like crowd-funded journalism and user-generated content.

Metro and Sp!ts first appeared on 21 June 1999, and since then they have acquired a key position among the range of free newspapers available in the Netherlands. Other free publications may have fallen by the wayside, but Metro and Sp!ts continue to be the source of news for users of public transport, and for those in schools, care institutions, and at other locations.

The website will continue to exist. This successful website has its own target group and, like, enhances the online reach of TMG. In June 2014 and received 902,203 and 950,344 hits respectively from unique desktop visitors, and 1,129,376 and 844,885 from unique mobile visitors (Source: Google Analytics).