BY JAMES SIMONS
The Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers have announced that they will cease print editions in March next month and go digital.
The transition to a “digital -only future”, will inevitably lead to some redundancies among editorial employees”,according to ESI, but said there would also be 25 new “digital-content roles”.
ESI has also confirmed it will sell the i newspaper to Johnston Press, subject to approval from Johnston’s shareholders.
The decision comes after 25 years of printing by the newspaper and maybe an indication of the speed to which a shift to digital press is becoming increasingly popular.
Evgeny Lebedev, ESI’s owner, said: “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.”
The monthly audience od the paper is stated to have grown 33.3% in the last 12 months to nearly 70 million global unique users. The site is profitable and is expected to see revenue growth of 50% this year.
Evgeny Lebedev, owner of The Independent, said in an official statement: “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.
“My family bought and invested heavily in The Independent because we believe in world-class quality journalism, and this move secures the future of these vitally important editorial values.”
Steve Auckland, Group CEO, ESI Media, added to this: “The unique editorial proposition of The Independent is perfectly suited to the global digital landscape. Following this decisive move to digital, we will be as focused and uncompromising as any start-up, but with all the authority and trust of an established news brand – a truly unique proposition. We now have a clear and secure future path for our businesses. It’s also a further opportunity for our advertisers to capitalize on our growing, smart, affluent and digitally savvy audience.”
The daily edition was named National Newspaper of the Year at the 2004 British Press Awards. In March 2014, it had an average daily circulation of 63,907, whilst its Sunday edition recorded a circulation of 100,549.
Originally published as a broadsheet in a series of celebrated designs, the paper was produced by Newspaper Publishing plc and created by Andreas Whittam Smith, Stephen Glover and Matthew Symonds. Marcus Sieff was the first chairman of Newspaper Publishing and Whittam Smith took control of the paper