Associated News plans overhaul for Metro online

Associated Newspapers’ free paper Metro is to relaunch its website later this year with an overhaul that will offer advertisers more opportunities and users greater interactivity.

The current website was unveiled in 2006 and before then was branded MetroCafé. Its UK traffic has increased 75% year on year, according to comScore. The majority (72%) of the audience is aged 15 to 44 years old.

News of the online relaunch comes shortly after Metro’s rival, News International’s thelondonpaper, relaunched its website, as has the London Evening Standard. The latter was previously a stablemate of Metro but is now owned by Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev.

Associated’s parent the Daily Mail and General Trust signalled last week that it would investigate a pay-for-content model across Mail Online and other sites in a bid to offset declining print advertising revenues. Other traditional print publishers are also grappling with the issue.

However, Metro head of digital Jamie Walters says it is extremely unlikely Metro Online will introduce any payment mechanism. He says: “It’s very difficult to give away content in the Metro newspaper and then to ask people to pay online.”

The revamped website will include new channels and more aggregated content from other non-Associated sources, and there will be more opportunities for user personalisation.

Advertisers will be able to benefit from expanded content in popular channels such as art and entertainment, and ad positioning will be improved.

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