‘Metro Herald’ to cease publishing on Friday

Free Dublin newspaper closes with loss of 13 full-time jobs, citing ‘unsustainable’ business model

The closure of ‘Metro Herald’ will result in the loss of 13 jobs.

The closure of ‘Metro Herald’ will result in the loss of 13 jobs.

 

Dublin newspaper Metro Herald will cease publishing this week. Friday’s edition of the freesheet will be its last, according to the joint venture company behind the title.

The move will result in the loss of 13 full-time jobs, while a number of part-time casual workers who distribute the paper on weekday mornings will also be affected.

In a statement, the board of Fortunegreen Ltd said the paper’s business model had become “unsustainable in a difficult advertising environment” and that it was no longer viable. All of the positions within the company will be made redundant.

Fortunegreen is owned equally by The Irish Times Ltd, Independent News & Media (INM) and DMG Ireland Holdings Ltd, which publishes the Irish Daily Mail. The title was printed by The Irish Times Ltd at its plant in Citywest.

Paul Crosbie, Fortunegreen’s managing director, said Metro Herald had been “fighting a rear-guard action” as a result of “prolonged recession” and evolution in the media industry.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that we have come to this decision, which sadly means the loss of jobs. Metro Herald, and the people who have worked here, have been extremely resourceful and hard-working, breaking new ground in creative print advertising.”

Mr Crosbie thanked employees, the merchandisers, shareholders, the board, the advertisers who had stayed loyal and “not least, all our valued commuting readers”.

Metro Herald was formed in 2010 from a merger of two rival freesheets: Metro, which was supported by The Irish Times Ltd and DMG as well as Swedish publisher Metro International, and Herald AM, which came from the INM stable.

Metro was first launched in 2005 with the aim of targeting time-starved commuters and replicating the temporary success achieved by the Metro International brand across Europe. INM immediately responded by launching Herald AM. However, both titles recorded significant losses in the first five years as they battled for readers and advertisers.

The decision to merge the titles “made good commercial sense at the time”, Fortunegreen said. Losses narrowed in recent years, with Fortunegreen Ltd losing about €280,000 in 2013, according to documents filed at the Companies Office.

The abridged financial statements show that Fortunegreen Ltd closed 2013 with accumulated losses of almost €15.5 million.

“Due to continuing pressure on advertising revenues, the shareholders of Fortunegreen Ltd have decided the business is not viable as a sustainable entity into the future and have regretfully taken the decision to cease trading,” the company said.