Did you ever think that maybe everything we know about media is wrong, that we should ditch digital distribution and bet the farm on print publishing? No? Me neither.
But apparently, the publishers of the UK’s Daily Mirror had to learn this the hard way. Last week, Trinity Mirror pulled the plug on The New Day, a print-only publication with no Web site, after just 10 weeks in business.
As reported in a previous blog post, New Day debuted back in February with 2 million free copies of its print edition and a goal of eventually attracting around 200,000 paying readers. The publisher focused specifically on a potential audience of “lapsed” readers who had abandoned the UK’s other newspapers.
Dropping the Web site would save money and, it was hoped, lure readers back to print with the promise of exclusive content.
However, the tabloid-style newspaper, with a regular price of 50 pence per copy (that’s around $0.70), clearly failed to make the post-novelty transition to regular readership. Last week, the publisher revealed that daily circulation plunged from 150,000 in March to less than 40,000 last month, dooming the venture financially.
Trinity Mirror spokeswoman summed up the lessons of the experiment in a statement to the UK press: “We always said that there was an element of experiment to this, and if it wasn’t going to work, we would close it. This confirms that it is a challenging time for print.”
While it’s probably cold comfort for Trinity Mirror at this moment, across Europe more established newspapers are also having a rough time. UK peer The Independent stopped publishing its print edition in March, although it continues publishing on its Web site and a new app.
Also in March, the editor-in-chief of El Pais, Spain’s largest newspaper, revealed it may cease publishing a print edition and go all-digital. Over the last 10 years, the newspaper’s circ tumbled 45% from a high of 469,000 in 2004 to 260,000 in 2014.