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Metro newspaper publishes its final Belgian edition
Anyone looking for something to read on trains and buses in Belgium will no longer be able to pick up a Metro – whose last print edition was on Friday 27 October.
The sad demise of this staple of Belgian commuters – printed in French and Dutch since the year 2000 – is the result of the newspaper’s economic results following the Covid-19 pandemic, said its publishers, Rossel Group, Belgium’s largest French-speaking media group.
“The various stages of lockdown and the shift to remote working throughout 2020 and 2021 have had a structural effect on Metro’s economic model, which relies principally on distribution through public transport networks, university campuses and businesses,” the Brussels-based group said.
Despite attempts to boost Metro’s editorial content and also to increase its digital offering earlier this year, the newspaper, with its team of journalists, did not receive enough interest from advertisers.
“Despite the unwavering efforts of our teams, advertising revenue – the sole financial lifeline for Metro – has remined too low to support our operations,” Rossel said.
“And looking at the situation of free press publications in other markets, in Europe and in the world, has not given us any encouragement.”
The closure of Metro will also impact on Rossel’s Flemish-language celebrity news site Zita.be, while digital updates to the Metro website and app will continue until 15 January 2024.
Thanking its partners and advertisers, including Belgian railway operator the SNCB, Brussels public transport company Stib, and Wallonia and Flanders’ bus companies TEC and De Lijn, the Rossel Group said it is aiming to avoid job losses by moving journalists to other publications owned by the 130-year-old brand.
These include Le Soir, Sud Info, La Voix du Nord and the Vlan.
Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga