After only nine weeks of trading, Trinity Mirror’s New Day newspaper announced its closure on Wednesday evening, with the final copy of its print-only newspaper hitting the shelves today.
The announcement of a new print-only newspaper in February this year sparked surprise, scepticism and criticism from consumers and the media industry alike, given its proximity to the Independent’s announcement that it would be switching to digital only and a clear trend towards consumer preference for online and digital news sources. At March’s #RethinkMedia conference, the BBC’s Mark Frankel said that it was a brave move by the publisher and that they were entering a difficult space. He added that the challenge would be developing readership quickly enough for it to be sustainable.
Despite its target daily sales of 200,000 papers, it is reported that New Day sales fell to circa 40,000 per day, with Facebook followers comparing it to The Metro free newspaper, expressing concern that its 50 pence price tag was too high for a light newspaper and lamenting the lack of a digital version.
In the lead up to the launch, Trinity Mirror Chief Executive, Simon Fox stated that New Day would fill “a gap in the market for a daily newspaper designed to co-exist in a digital age” and targeted those individuals who did not read a newspaper by bucking the trend for digital news with a print-only offering. However it seems the publisher underestimated consumer demand for free, digital content.
The paper did however interact with consumers via social media, collecting reader thoughts and views on subjects via Facebook and then printing these comments in the newspaper.
This week’s announcement may not come as a surprise to the media industry or consumers and may be viewed as another nail in the coffin of the print industry. However New Day‘s experiment was an interesting one and applied some business principles which are very popular at the moment; take risks, fail fast and disrupt the market. Interestingly the disruption in this case was a return to the publishing business model seen prior to digital disruption. This raises an interesting thought; as digital becomes the norm, will it be innovative offline approaches to business models that will become the disruptors? New Day’s unsuccessful attempt suggests not, but maybe it was just ahead of its time.