Mafra shuts down free regional weekly 5plus2 due to rising costs

Street vendor offers copy of 5plus2 weekly.
Some copies were distributed by street vendors. Photo: Mafra

Mafra, a leading Czech publishing house, has discontinued its free regional news weekly 5plus2 due to increasing production costs. The last issue was published on Friday, April 12th. Mafra had unsuccessfully attempted to sell the title to the A11 media group, which also publishes regional magazines.

The closure of 5plus2 marks the first change in Mafra's product portfolio since February when the company was acquired by a new owner, the Kaprain investment group.

In 2023, 5plus2 had an average readership of 523,000 per issue, making it Mafra's strongest print title. However, the weekly also had a very costly distribution network.

"The current economic situation, including energy and paper prices, unfortunately left Mafra with no other option," wrote editor-in-chief Petr Škarda in the final issue's editorial. He recommended other Mafra titles as alternatives for readers, such as the website and the free daily newspaper Metro.

5plus2 had been published since March 2012, initially launched as the first media project of billionaire and later politician Andrej Babiš through his company AGF Media, a subsidiary of his Agrofert group.

At its peak in the summer of 2012, the weekly had a print run of approximately one million copies, employed 160 editors, and published 77 regional versions. Mafra, which Babiš acquired in 2013, later took over the publication. Babiš's ANO political movement was a frequent advertiser in 5plus2.

Logo of 5plus2 weekly

Following optimization in subsequent years, the print run decreased by more than half, and the number of editors also declined. Some copies were distributed by street vendors. The weekly utilized a network of about 6,000 distribution points, with readers able to order home delivery for the price of postage. A portion of the print run was distributed alongside the Metro daily.

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