MetroPlus was launched as a four-page feature supplement on November 15, 1999 in five cities - Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi and Thiruvananthapuram.

The first issues of what was then a weekly supplement on Mondays contained the ingredients of what has made it popular and successful over the years.

The inaugural issues and those that followed laid the foundation for this supplement by engaging their respective cities in their totality, dealing with subjects such as lifestyle, culture, heritage, fashion and food, and lending another dimension to the newspaper's overall coverage.

The early years were a period of quick growth. MetroPlus became a bi-weekly in Chennai and Hyderabad in 2000.

At the end of the year, a Kochi edition was launched and the process of converting to colour began with editions such as Thiruvananthapuram shedding their black and white appearance.

In the subsequent years, new editions were started - for example in Visakhapatnam in mid-2002 and in Coimbatore and Madurai in early 2003.

Even as MetroPlus was rolled out in new centres, its frequency was increased gradually in the bigger cities where it was already being published such as Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi and Kochi.

The newest centres to have a MetroPlus were Tiruchi in May 2004 and Pondicherry in February 2005.

Growth was also reflected in the increase in page levels. The Chennai edition grew from four pages a day to eight (on most days) in June 2005 with the introduction of special sections on health (Wellness), women and relationships (Gender), travel (Escape) and the auto sector (Wheels).

Some of these sections are carried in other editions as well. Last year, we launched MetroPlus Weekend in a staggered manner in nine centres by converting and expanding the Saturday editions in some places into the popular tabloid format and launching new editions in others.

Today, we publish independent editions out of 13 centres, with frequencies ranging from five times to once a week.

MetroPlus is published five times a week from Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. We are tri-weekly from Delhi, Kochi and Coimbatore and bi-weekly from Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram. And we come out once a week from Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam, Mangalore, Tiruchi and Puducherry.

It is an operation of some complexity as each edition is independent of the rest and the shared content is but a small portion of the total editorial output.

Such independence allows each edition the freedom to plug into its own city. At the same time, the shared content and design elements provide a template for the product to establish a distinct brand identity.

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