Aftonbladet ditches free paper

Swedish tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet has decided to ditch its free sister paper Punkt SE.

Aftonbladet ditches free paper

The move comes after Norwegian media giant Schibsted announced it had bought 35 percent of the shares in Metro Sweden for 350 million kronor ($57 million).

Schibsted, which owns both Aftonbladet and Svenska Dagbladet, also said it was entering into an advertising agreement with Metro.

Aftonbladet’s brief flirtation with the free newspaper market was a financal failure. In 2007 Punkt SE made a total loss of 198 million kronor. For the first quarter of 2008, the free paper ran a loss of 44 million kronor.

The costs of the closure are expected to amount to 65 million kronor, said Schibsted in a statement.

Schibsted’s Sweden manager Gunnar Strömblad said Metro Sweden was a good match for the company’s existing newspapers.

“Metro is very good at sales and Schibsted is very strong when it comes to business development,” he said.

Schibsted expects its collaboration with Metro on the advertising market to result in income synergies of 40-50 million kronor after two to three years.

The Norwegian company’s share acquisition also entitiles it to two places on the board of Metro Sweden.

Before the deal goes through however, the companies must receive approval from the Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket).


Social Democrats call for Malmö underground system

Malmö’s Social Democrats have backed plans to build an underground railway in the city which could then be connected to Copenhagen through a tunnel under the Öresund straits.

Social Democrats call for Malmö underground system
The Copenhagen Metro in Örestad, near to the Öresund Straits. Photo: Johan Nilsson / TT / Kod
Malmö mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh wants the city to begin drawing up plans for an underground railway with at least five stops: Malmö Central, Södervärn, Värnhem, Västra Hamnen and Nyhamnen. 
“We need to plan for a traffic system where we take into account being a city of half a million people,” she told the local Sydsvenskan newspaper. 
“And the traffic system needs to be able to handle more than just those who live in Malmö because we represent 50 percent of the growth in new jobs in Skåne and in addition are experiencing growing tourism.” 
Stjernfeldt Jammeh said that if her party manages to hold onto power after Sunday’s election, she aimed to push forward with the plans even before an investment decision over the Öresund Metro link. 
“There is a good reason in going underground, because we need to be economical with space on the surface,” she said. 
Sweden’s Liberal Party was the first to suggest building an underground in Malmö, with the Social Democrats instead pushing for a tram network until the plan was voted down by the centre-Right Alliance in Skåne’s regional government.