British national newspaper The Independent will produce its final printed edition on March 26, to become the country’s first national newspaper to leap into a 100 per cent digital future.
The shift away from print was announced by ESI Media on Friday and will result in the creation of 25 new digital content roles, a new subscription-based mobile app, new editorial bureaux in Europe, the Middle East and Asia and an expansion of its US operation.
Steve Auckland, group chief executive of ESI Media, said the move would allow The Independent to become “as focused and uncompromised as any start-up, but with all the authority and trust of an established news brand”.
“It’s also a further opportunity for our advertisers to capitalise on our growing, smart, affluent and digitally savvy audience,” he said.
Monthly audience to independent.co.uk has grown by a third in the past year to a global unique audience of almost 70 million and the company expects the site will grow revenue by 50 per cent this year.
Owner of The Independent, Evgeny Lebedev, said the shift to digital would allow the masthead to continue to invest in the quality editorial content that attracted increasingly more readers to its online platforms.
“The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers. They’re showing us that the future is digital,” he said.
The Independent’s announcement follows the decision by Montreal-based Canadian newspaper La Presse to end its daily printed edition from the beginning of this year in favour of its popular tablet app La Presse+.
ESI Media will continue to print its profitable free local newspaper London Evening Standard which the company acquired in 2009.
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