Metro Goes On Making Profits

By Roy Greenslade: Metro, the free paper that distributes 1.3m copies a day in 16 urban centres across Britain, continues to swim against the tide, reports the Financial Times.

According to Steve Auckland, Metro UK’s managing director, the paper made an operating profit even during the worst of the recession in 2009, its seventh successive year of profitability.

Metro boasted the highest volume of Monday to Friday display advertising of all generalist UK newspapers in May. According to Nielsen data, Metro had 114,647 single column centimetres (ccms) of display ads, compared with 94,875ccms at The Sun, 77,616ccms at the Daily Mail (LSE: DMGT), and 106,170ccms at the Daily Telegraph.

That high volume of ads also reflects Metro’s willingness to transform itself for the sake of an advertising campaign, often with a wraparound cover devoted to a new product. Certain sections are sponsored by a brand, and advertisers can even ask the paper’s editorial team to help write advertising content.

Metro UK, owned by Daily Mail & General Trust, copied the free model pioneered by the Swedish-owned company, Metro International. But MI, which distributes papers in more than 100 cities in 18 countries, has found profits hard to come by.

This article originally appeared in © Guardian News & Media Ltd..