The Independent today launched a cut-price daily spin-off title which its managing director suggested could ‘replenish’the UK’s ailing daily newspaper market.
The new title, called ‘i’, offers a completely different, and condensed, version of the day’s news for 20p – compared with The Independent which is priced at £1.
Group managing director Andrew Mullins told Press Gazette categorically that the new paper was not intended to kill-off its parent title.
‘The theory is that if this brand is a tremendous success and iconic and we have done a great job for the newspaper industry and young people are coming in, you will have rebuilt the product life cycle of newspapers.
‘People will be coming in and trading up into The Independent. You will be fuelling The Independent.
‘Demographics are getting older and older but you are not feeding them in below, if you replenish from below there is every possibility that it [circulation] will stablise, it may even possibly grow.
‘I can’t fortune tell but our business model has The Independent being around for the full five years of our financial plan.”
Press Gazette understands that Independent bosses would be happy with a daily circulation of around 200,000 for ‘i’.
Editor of both The Independent, and ‘i’, Simon Kelner wrote today in an introduction to the new title that it is ‘not only a new paper, but a new kind of paper, designed for people with busy, modern lives.
‘Colourful and accessible, concise and intelligent, it’s your essential daily briefing. Packed with news, views, entertainment, business and sport, but presented for rapid consumption, it’s the perfect way for an intelligent person to start today – and at a much more affordable price than a cappuccino.”
The new title runs to 56 pages, compared to the 70 pages of The Independent.
The news section offers a greatly condensed version of the stories of the day. But there are some longer features, such as the Johann Hari column (which appears in full), and a feature about Mel Gibson which appears in both the Viewspaper section of the main independent and the features section of ‘i’.
The ‘i’ has a radically different design from The Independent and opted for a completely different treatment of most stories.
While The Independent led today on a piece by Robert Fisk about the exodus of Christians from the Middle East, this story did not feature in ‘i’ which instead led on ‘The housing crisis of Coalition Britain’about how young people have been priced out of home ownership.
Press Gazette understands that ten new production staff have been brought in to produce the new paper, with around ten existing editorial staff given extra responsibility.
While ‘i’ is a much lighter read than The Independent, it is clearly a much weightier product than free daily Metro and aimed at a more far more up-market readership than The Sun (currently selling for 20p in much of the UK) and the Daily Star, which is on sale for 10p in many places.