After a number of years as one of the UK’s top traditional newspapers, The Independent confirmed to readers and the media at large today that it is going digital only. The announcement came on Friday, February 12, after a string of rumors alleging so from multiple sources. As print begins to wane as a format and many other publications look into doing the same, citing cost efficiency and dwindling subscription and ad revenues, the move seems a natural sign of the times. The Independent’s parent company, ESI Media, made a statement saying that ceasing print operations and going full digital would “ensure a sustainable and profitable future”.
ESI Media has stated that there will be a few jobs lost during the move due to redundancy, but did not specify a number. On the flip side of the coin, 25 new positions relating to digital content management, advertising and other 21st century considerations are set to pop up as The Independent makes the switch and drops its print business entirely. A new mobile app that works on a subscription basis will be created as part of the new all-digital effort. The Independent does have the advantage of being the first U.K. print publishing to go all-digital, but with competitors preparing to do the same en masse, the digital paper market may become a bit crowded in the near future.
The Independent’s existing website, i100.co.uk, will become indy100.com as part of the move, indicating a more central role in The Independent’s activities. Companion paper i newspaper will no longer be a part of The Independent’s operations, instead being sold to Johnston Press. This plan is in pending status, however, as it will require shareholder approval. Johnston has apparently declined to keep any current i newspaper employees, however, according to a tweet by Times editor Beth Rigby; “Johnston Press has NOT agreed to take any #indy journos to i newspaper. But may advertise some jobs. How utterly grim” The Independent owner Evgeny Lebedev said of the deal, “The Independent has always been a pioneering newspaper with a track record of innovation. It has a proud heritage as Britain’s first truly independent national quality title.” The final editions of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday will be issued on Saturday and Sunday, March 26 and 20 respectively.