09 June 2000

First the good news …

Metro, the London giveaway newspaper initially launched last year by the Daily Mail and General Trust as a defensive measure [against an expected but unfulfilled incursion into the sector by a Scandinavian newspaper group] has proved an unexpected success .

The freebie, which is distributed at London subway and mainline rail stations, has already moved into the black and regional editions have been launched in four other UK cities. Advertising in Metro now sells at a cost-per-thousand premium to that in the Daily Mail, reflecting its popularity among younger readers.

And now the bad …

DMGT reported a 16% dive in interim pre-tax profits to £72.4 million before exceptional items. The shortfall was attributed to the cost of investment in Metro and new-media ventures. The latter includes Associated New Media, which had "an active half year" with the launch of recruitment website Big Blue Dog, and Charlotte Street, a site targeting women.

DMGT said underlying trading for most of its activities was strong.

News source: The Times (London)