As one printed, daily newspaper disappears from UK news-stands, and another new addition tries to grab its share of a fast-disappearing audience, it got us thinking about the future of printed news.
The decision by the owner of The Independent to take his title online-only was met with much wailing from the sort of people who like to wail about things. However, the facts are that only a touch more than 40,000 people were paying for the paper every day. At its peak, The Indy sold 400,000 per day.
In contrast, the management’s decision to attract an online audience via a more populist style of writing and subject choices has seen its online reach shoot up to 2.8 million unique browsers daily.
This contrasts with the UK’s biggest newspaper publisher, Trinity Mirror, which launched a new printed daily paper on the British public in February, the first since, ironically, the launch of The Independent in 1986.
The New Day is light on actual news, heavy on opinion, features and bite-size takeaways for a commuter audience.
It is at pains to involve its audience in every step of the decision-making editorial process, from Facebook polls on stories to pages of reader-generated content and price offers as they try to build an audience that will stick with them.
So far, this is having minimal impact among a public that has, largely, turned its back on print as a daily, necessary, purchase.
Official figures for The New Day are unavailable, but industry watchers believe it is selling less than 100,000 copies daily – far short of the 200,000 target for the new title.
If it fails, it won’t be for lack of effort as this is a paper that is focus group tested to the nth degree. It will simply be that we live in an era that worships the screen and not the page.