Popular freesheet axed as publisher cuts back

87 employees of Berlingske Media will lose their jobs as the company prepares for future

The last edition of free newspaper Urban will be published tomorrow after its owner, Berlingske Media, announced a series of cutbacks today aimed at preparing the company for increasing competition, declining print readership and the increasing popularity of digital media.

Berlingske will also lay off 87 – or 3.5 percent of its total number of employees – as part of the cuts. An additional 10 unfilled positions will also be eliminated.

“We need to make sure that company remains financially strong,” Lisbeth Knudsen, managing director of Berlingske Media, told Berlingkse Business.

Knudsen pointed to declining advertising revenue as the immediate reason for closing Urban.

“There’s nothing to indicate that advertising sales for national freesheets are going to bounce back in 2012, and the market isn’t big enough for three freesheets.”

UrbanÂ’s closing leaves only metroXpress and 24timer, both owned by the Swedish-based Metro International, as the only two freesheets in a field that once counted five such publications.
Urban began publishing in November 2001 as BerlingskeÂ’s response to the launch of metroXpress.

Berlingske, according to Knudsen, is rethinking the Urban brand and said the it will return in a digital version in the spring as part of  an overall strategy for the company’s future.

She said today’s moves would allow Berlingske to be able to adopt an offensive strategy to address the challenges the company faced. 

“We need to be ready to consolidate or make any acquisitions required,” she said.

Employees were told about the cuts today and talks have started with the various unions.  Those negotiations are expected to be completed within two weeks.





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