A publicity photo announces Publimetro, a tabloid that is new in Merida. Photo: Megamedia

Mérida, Yucatán — Green placards strapped to their backs, hawkers at traffic lights handed out a new tabloid this morning. No coins exchanged hands.

Shaking up a city where several newspapers struggle to get readers to pay for their print editions, Megamedia announced a no-charge tabloid called Publimetro Mérida, which will circulate mainly in the north during the morning rush hour.

Megamedia also publishes the broadsheet Diario de Yucatán, which is sold on newsstands for 10 pesos. Tabloid competitors include Por Esto! for 8 pesos and Milenio Novedades for 6 pesos.

The new title is formed under Grupo Megamedia’s alliance with Metro International, a Swedish company, based in Stockholm, which operates the largest free-newspaper chain in the world.

Publimetro is a new name in the city, but not in the country; Mérida is the seventh city for the tabloid to land. It has been in Mexico for 12 years, aimed at commuters in Mexico City, Monterrey, León, Guadalajara, Morelia and Puebla.

The tabloid has 74 daily editions in 17 languages ​​and 198 cities and 24 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Combined, Publimetro circulates six million copies and a reach of about 15 million readers.

The colorful tabloid’s content is easy reading with sections on international and national news, editorials, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, technology, personal finance, cars and horoscopes.

Initially the newspaper will be 16 pages, growing if enough advertisers buy space. The new publication is in full color and will have a Monday-Friday daily circulation of 30,000 copies, starting at 8 a.m. Publimetro Mérida will also include four pages of local news supplied by Megamedia.

The newspaper Publimetro arrives in Mérida at the moment when the city is made up of a great diversity of people from other parts of the Republic, says its director, Euán Eduardo Barrientos.

The director said circulation will be pushed in high-growth neighborhoods such as Santa Fe, Las Americas, Temozón, Cholul and Santa Gertrudis Copó.

With information from Megamedia