Swedish publisher Modern Times Group has secured the lucrative contract to distribute a free morning newspaper in Newcastle across the city’s Metro network.
The publisher has an agreement to launch the title with Nexus, the executive body that operates the Tyne and Wear Metro on behalf of Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Council. It is likely to be 24-32-page title published Monday to Friday.
Nexus chose Modern Times’ proposal ahead of several others, which are understood to have come from Associated Newspapers and TrinityMirror, publisher of the city’s principal daily The Chronicle & Journal.
Modern Times’ assault on the UK market is being led by chief executive Jens Torpe and business development director John Hampton, who have set up a 12-strong Metro International office in London.
Torpe said the title, due to launch next spring, would be called Metro, although he said the company had yet to determine its circulation or the number of sales staff it would be recruiting.
Modern Times is currently looking for a managing director, editor-in-chief and sales director to launch the venture. Candidates are expected to demonstrate a passion for the north-east and an extensive knowledge of the region’s economy and culture.
The title will be distributed at all 46 stations on the metro system, which carries 35 million passengers every year. The network, built in 1980, extends to Gateshead and Newcastle International Airport.
A Nexus spokesperson confirmed that it had received “a number of proposals” about launching a newspaper. “The whole package was the best one in terms of the input that the proprietor will be putting into the paper locally,” he said. “This exciting project offers enormous opportunities to us.”