‘Independent’ stable to cease its print editions

The owners of British newspapers The Independent and The Independent on Sunday have confirmed the print version of the titles will close in March, leaving an online-only edition.

‘Independent’ stable to cease its print editions

ESI Media said The Independent, launched in 1986, will become “the first national newspaper title to move to a digital-only future”. It did not reveal how many of the 150 full-time staff would lose their jobs.

The move comes after the paper’s owners Alexander and Evgeny Lebedev agreed a deal to sell its cut-price sister paper I to regional publisher Johnston Press for around £24m (€30.9m).

The Independent newspapers are part of the group owned by the Lebedev family, who have other media assets including London newspaper the Evening Standard.

ESI Media said the paper’s website has seen its monthly audience grow 33.3% over the last 12 months to nearly 70m global unique users.

It added the site is profitable and is expected to see revenue growth of 50% this year.

The move comes at a time of increasing difficulties for the British newspaper industry, with print advertising revenues falling and few titles having found a profitable online business model.

ESI Media said as a result of the move it will create 25 new digital content roles, launch a new subscription mobile app, and continue to invest in quality journalism.

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