Associated Newspapers’ decision to boost the distribution of its flagship freesheet, Metro, by more than 20% has been criticised as a reckless move by media buyers.
Buyers say Associated has misjudged the market and has not allowed for the impact of rival free weekly magazine, Shortlist, which will be launched in the autumn.
One media buyer says: “People are going to pick up Shortlist instead of Metro, it is as simple as that. They are both free and people will want something new.”
Another source adds that Associated should have waited to “see if people take to Shortlist”. He says: “I think it is a bit reckless, as they can’t anticipate the success of Shortlist.”
Metro is increasing its distribution by 250,000 copies from October this year, the increase coincides with the launch of Shortlist, which will have a national distribution of 500,000. The magazine is being launched by former IPC group editorial director Mike Soutar. He left IPC in June 2006.
Shortlist will carry news and current affairs along with editorial aimed at 18to 35-year-old ABC1 men.
Manning Gottlieb OMD executive director of press and online Mark Gallagher points out that Sport, the weekly freesheet launched in London last September, has had minimal impact on the Metro.