Independent marks third year in profit after going digital-only

The Independent has revealed it remained in profit for a third consecutive year after going digital-only, despite a number of new editorial hires.

Independent Digital News and Media has reported revenues of £27m for 2018/19, a growth of nine per cent year-on-year.

Advertising revenues grew by ten per cent during the year.

Independent chief executive Zach Leonard attributed the growth to a “diverse range” of revenue streams including advertising, reader revenues, and licensing and syndication.

Readers can pay up to £8.99 per month for a premium subscription to get ad-free reading and exclusive articles, with the option to add a daily digital newspaper edition for a total of £12.99 per month.

The digital-only title’s subscription offering was rebranded as Independent Premium last year, from Independent Minds.

The Independent launched foreign-language sites operating under licence in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu, in 2019, with more planned “soon”.

Reinvestment in editorial and product development was said to be behind a fall in pre-tax profits of almost a quarter year-on-year, from £3.1m to £2.3m in 2018/19.

Operating profit saw a similar fall (24 per cent) to £2.3m, but the company noted it had seen a growth in its costs of £3m, which was partly put down to growing the editorial team by 12 per cent.

The Independent now has more than 100 journalists based in 13 cities, including 22 editorial roles in the US which has seen further expansion in recent months including the appointment of a US editor.

It is also planning to add staff in Los Angeles on top of those already in New York, Washington and Seattle.

The Independent will mark its fourth anniversary since going digital-only, following closure of its daily and Sunday print titles, on 27 March.

Independent chairman John Paton said: “Few, if any, serious, quality newspapers in the world have successfully made the transformation from print to digital only.

“The Independent has been profitable since going all-digital and nearly four years in it continues to grow substantially on the top line.”

The US is The Independent’s biggest market, with 30m monthly unique visitors and 18 per cent growth year-on-year reported in January this year.

The website’s global audience has reached 95m unique browsers, up 22 per cent year-on-year.

Independent editor Christian Broughton said his website was “truly independent in a time marked elsewhere by interference; international when others are increasingly inward-looking; proud to present disparate views when others fear to rock the boat”.

“The growing editorial team have risen to every challenge, and the future newsroom growth will no doubt see the journalism here leap from strength to strength.”

The Independent is owned by proprietor Evgeny Lebedev, who also owns sister title the Evening Standard. The free paper’s financial results are expected to be published separately later this year.

Comments

1 thought on “Independent marks third year in profit after going digital-only”

  1. Don’t tell Reach JPI NQ or Archant that, they’ll believe a national subscription model can work the same for their parochial dailies, even despite the example of the car crash failure of the Reach Huddersfield Examiner online

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