Trinity Mirror this morning confirmed the closure of The New Day as it revealed group revenue down 8.6 per cent in the four months to May.
The group said it invested £5m in marketing the launch of the new title two months ago. Some 25 editorial staff are affected by the move, including editor Alison Phillips and her deputy Barry Rabbetts who moved over from the Mirror titles.
Roughly half the staff are existing employees of Trinity Mirror and will be reabsorbed into their previous roles. The other half were on short-term temporary contracts and will be let go.
The politically neutral title claimed to present an upbeat view on life and appeared firmly aimed at female readers, with little sport coverage.
At 40 pages, it struggled to attract enough buyers willing to spend 50p (10p more the i, which appeared to be its closest competitor).
In London and other big cities around the UK it also faced competition from free daily Metro.
Metro editor Ted Young said this morning: “Despite the news regarding Trinity Mirror’s New Day, print is far from dead. Metro continues to go from strength to strength – we now have 3.3million readers every day. Metro proves that there is a future for newspapers.”
The New Day was not audited by ABC, but its daily sales were believed to be between 30,000 and 40,000 per day, well short of the level needed to break even.
Trinity Mirror said this morning: “Although The New Day has received many supportive reviews and built a strong following on Facebook, the circulation for the title is below our expectations. As a result, we have decided to close the title on 6 May 2016. Whilst disappointing, the launch and subsequent closure have provided new insights into enhancing our newspapers and a number of these opportunities will be considered over time.”
There was hint in today’s edition about the closure of the title, part from perhaps the thought for the day from Quentin Crisp on page three: “If at first you don’t succeed, failure may be your style.”
Staff appear to have been told after deadline last night.
Editor Alison Phillips said in a message to readers on Facebook: “Bad news I’m afraid but tomorrow’s edition of The New Day will be the last.
“We have tried everything we could but sadly we just haven’t reached the sales figures we needed to make it work financially.
“The response over the 50 issues we have published has been extraordinary. I have never worked on a title with such engagement from readers. There clearly were many people who truly loved the idea of a different kind of newspaper which spoke to them. But the reality was we didn’t have enough of them on a daily basis.
“The team here have been extraordinary. Not just for their hard work and commitment but also for having the guts to take a chance and to try something new when they knew there were few guarantees of success. And for continuing to pull out all the stops even when things were looking pretty grim. To have not given this a go was to mean we were content to stand on the pavement and watch the decline of British national newspapers hurtle past us.
“But we weren’t. And we still aren’t.
“I just hope all of those of us who’ve been involved in this escapade – readers, staff, advertisers, paperboys, papergirls and the staff at Dewsbury Asda getting harangued by Adele’s mum every morning – never ever stop trying new things. Because that’s when we start dying.
“To take Samuel Beckett: ‘Ever tried. Ever Failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.’ Thanks for everything…”
Overall, Trinity Mirror said in its trading update that the “print advertising continues to be volatile”.
Publishing revenue was said to be down by 8.5 per cent overall, with print down by 10.9 per cent and digital up 15.7 per cent.
Print advertising was said to be down 19 per cent, with circulation revenue down 4.5 per cent in the period.