British daily ‘The Independent’ to terminate print edition after 29 years

The British newspaper The Independent will close down its print editions in the coming month of March. News of the closure was announced today by the publication’s owner, Evgeny Lebedev.

The last edition of the daily – which is the youngest of the major British titles, having been founded in 1986 – is likely to roll off the presses on March 26th. Meanwhile, on March 20th, the last edition of The Independent on Sunday is likely to hit the newsstands. The owners of the newspaper are yet to confirm how many of their 150 employees will lose their jobs.

The Independent will become the first major British daily to go fully online. “The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers,” said Lebedev on Friday. “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.”

When it was selling during its heydey, in the mid-1990s, the “Indy,” as the paper is popularly known, sold more than 400,000 copies a day. By the middle of the next decade circulation had fallen by half. According to its publishers, the website now has 58 million readers a month and is generating profits. Revenues from the online edition are forecast to grow by 50% this year.

The company has also announce the sale of its i publication to Johnston Press. This newspaper, which was launched in 2010 by the same owner, offers a quick summary of the main stories of the day. It is sold at a lower price and enjoys a higher circulation than The Independent.

2015 was disastrous for the British media industry. Revenues for print advertising fell by 112 million pounds (around €143 million), the equivalent of the salary costs of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Daily Telegraph combined.

Spending on advertising in national newspapers has fallen by a third since 2010 to 880 million pounds (around €1.125 billion). And the speed of change in the digital media industry means that advertising revenue in that environment is yet to be consolidated.

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