Free-Paper Group Metro Moves Online, Aiming at Classifieds

By: Mark Fitzgerald Metro International S.A. -- the Luxembourg-based publisher that is challenging the newspaper industry's traditional paid-circulation business model with free commuter dailies in 76 cities on four continents -- said Wednesday it's moving into Web content and advertising.

Metro launched the first online product from its new subsidiary, Metro Modern Media, on Wednesday. "Metro Market," a classified-advertising site for consumers, went live in Sweden at, with what it said was about 900,000 classified ads.

"Over the coming months, Metro plans to roll out the 'Metro Market' concept in other countries where it currently publishers newspapers," the company said.
"In addition, the Metro Modern Media subsidiary will develop and launch different online products and services, levering Metro's unique position as the largest free newspaper in the world with more than 15 million readers internationally."

Among the possibilities, it said, are dating sites and music downloads.

Metro said the initial rollouts of its Web products will be in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and The Netherlands, but that it will eventually launch them in all of the 17 countries where it publishes free papers. Metro has 53 editions serving 76 cities in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

"Metro International has been waiting for the right time to launch into this area and we believe that the current size, growth and profitability of online make this the perfect time," Metro's president and CEO, Pelle T?rnberg, said in a statement.


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