Metro to Become Finland's Fourth-largest Printed News Medium

Sanoma plans to merge it's free sheets Uutislehti 100 and Metro as of 15 September. With a readership of 405,000,renewed Metro will become fourth-largest printed news medium in Finland and second-largest in Helsinki metropolitan area right after the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat

Uutislehti 100 and Metro, each have over 300,000 readers at the moment. After the merger, Metro's print run will increase by almost 50%. Accordingly, the number of points of distribution would increase from 1,200 to 2,050.

The new Metro will retain Uutislehti 100's local content in its Helsinki metropolitan area edition.

"By combining the papers, we can offer our readers as well as our advertisers a better, more multifaceted product. We've also noticed that a market the size of Finland cannot support two profitable commuter free sheets," says Niko Ruokosuo, President of Sanoma Kaupunkilehdet (Sanoma Free Sheets).

" Media market has changed during the past couple of years and is still changing. That is why we want to act swiftly and now combine two free sheets into one profitable and bigger Metro. This arrangement will create a very strong product for the free sheet market, which also in Finland has experienced slower-than-expected growth. If the market and competition situation changes, we are able to restart publishing Uutislehti 100 quickly,," states Mikael Pentikäinen, President of Sanoma Corporation.

According to Janne Kaijärvi, Senior Editor-in-Chief of Metro and Uutislehti 100, the new product will combine the best parts of both papers.

"With the help of our readers, we have developed Uutislehti 100 into a new kind of local news medium. When this content is combined with Metro's internationally successful concept, the final product should be something really special. The new Metro is more local, more interesting, more intimate and more diverse," promises Kaijärvi.

The new Metro will stake out a strong market position. In the future, Metro will reach nearly half of the under-40 population of the Helsinki area – which makes Metro an excellent medium for this target group.

The plan about merging the free sheets will be dealt through co-operation procedure and the final decision will be made after that. The procedure is not likely to result in layoffs.

Sanoma Kaupunkilehdet (Sanoma Free Sheets) is part of the Sanoma business division of the SanomaWSOY Group. Sanoma (from 1 October, Sanoma News) is the leading newspaper publisher in Finland. In addition to Helsingin Sanomat, the largest daily in the Nordic region, the Division publishes Ilta-Sanomat, Finland's largest quality tabloid, as well as regional newspapers and free sheets.

In addition to the Helsinki area, Metro is printed in Tampere, Hämeenlinna, Hyvinkää, Lahti, Järvenpää, Kerava and Turku.