New UK daily faces headwinds

27 October 2010

LONDON: The Independent has launched 'i', a newspaper heralded as the first new quality national daily in the UK for 25 years.

i, which will retail at 20p ($0.31, €0.23), will compete both with its more expensive national rivals and with the daily local freesheets that have gained popularity with British commuters over recent years.

Circulation targets for the title are said to be set at around 400,000.

Independent executive Andrew Mullins said i was aiming to appeal to readers who want a "concise, quality daily paper for just 20p". 

On sale from Monday to Friday, the paper will complement The Independent, which will continue to retail at £1.

Mullins said: "We think that if you provide something which is an essentially daily briefing it will bring people back to the quality newspaper market and then they may well trade up to the main Independent when they have more money and time."

The Independent's owner, Russian businessman Alexander Lebedev, also owns the London Evening Standard, which was re-launched as a free-sheet in October 2009.

Lebedev described i as "specifically targeted at readers and lapsed readers of quality newspapers and those of all ages".

The launch comes despite the 5.75% decrease in circulation suffered during the last year by the UK's 11 national daily paid-for newspapers. 

Moreover, the bulk of the decline has been carried by the more expensive broadsheet titles, with The Times, the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian all seeing their circulations shrink by more than 10% this year.

The Independent's own price paid-for daily circulation has reportedly dropped to less than 100,000.

Editor in chief of the Independent and Independent on Sunday, Simon Kelner, will oversee the new title, which will share editorial staff with the Independent.

Kelner said: "With the launch of i, we are again doing something radical and new, creating a paper for today that retains the essential qualities of the Independent.

"Ever since the Independent launched the paper has had a reputation for innovation and boldness and now we are creating the first postmodern newspaper, attractive to those who prize intelligence, convenience and desirability."

Ad agency, Beattie McGuinness Bungay, have developed an outdoor advertising campaign to support the launch.

Data sourced from BBC/Guardian; additional content by Warc staff