Monday 26 September 2016

UK Independent newspaper print titles to close, leaving online-only edition

Published 12/02/2016 | 12:32

Evgeny Lebedev holds a freshly printed copy of the ‘i’ weekday newspaper on the day of the tabloid’s launch in 2010. Photo: Bloomberg
Evgeny Lebedev holds a freshly printed copy of the ‘i’ weekday newspaper on the day of the tabloid’s launch in 2010. Photo: Bloomberg

The owners of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday newspapers have confirmed the print version of the titles will close, leaving an online-only edition.

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The last paper edition is expected to be on Saturday March 26.

There are 150 people employed across the group.

The owners of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday newspapers have confirmed the print version of the titles will close, leaving an online-only edition.

ESI Media said The Independent, launched in 1986, will become "the first national newspaper title to move to a digital-only future".

The Independent on Sunday will go online only on March 20, with The Independent following on March 26.

The move comes after the paper's owners Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev agreed a deal to sell its cut-price sister paper i to regional publisher Johnston Press for around £24m (€31m).

The Independent newspapers are part of the group owned by the Lebedev family, who have other media assets including the Evening Standard and local TV station London Live.

ESI Media said the independent.co.uk website has seen its monthly audience grow 33.3pc over the last 12 months to nearly 70 million global unique users.

It added the site is profitable and is expected to see revenue growth of 50pc this year.

The move comes at a time of increasing difficulties for the British newspaper industry, with print advertising revenues falling and few titles having found a profitable online business model.

Evgeny Lebedev, owner of The Independent, said: "The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers.

"They're showing us that the future is digital. This decision preserves the Independent brand and allows us to continue to invest in the high quality editorial content that is attracting more and more readers to our online platforms."

ESI Media said as a result of the move it will create 25 new digital content roles, launch a new subscription mobile app and continue to invest in quality journalism.

Independent News & Media solid the newspapers to Lebedev back in 2010 for £1 as part of a cost cutting programme when businessman Tony O'Reilly was the main shareholder in the group.

 

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