Independent plans, well, “copies” lite version
According to the Guardian, the owner of the Independent, Alexander Lebedev, is thinking about a ‘lite’ version of the Independent, called ‘i’ and priced at 20 p. The paper should mainly use material from the big sister The Independent.
There were also rumors that the Independent would go free, but this does not seem to be the case with ‘i’. Independent’s editor-in-chief, Simon Kelner, coordinates the operation.
The new paper would be targeted at a different – younger (twentysomething) - audience.
mmmmm, sounds familiar? Yes.
First, the title and concept seem to be very similar to a Portuguese newspaper, accidentally also called ‘i’.
This paper was launched in May 2009 with a print run of 100,000. Cover price was €1 – so more expensive than the Independent’s ‘i’ and also with more pages. The paper is published by Sojormedia Capital, owned by the Lena Group.
Since launch, however, the paper got in serious troubles, as the public demand for the paper was less than expected. Editor Martim Avillez Figuereido left the paper after disagreements with the management. The paper is now looking for “cost control and revenue increase” according to Editorsweblog.
Editorsweblog also claimed that “circulation was augmenting steadily last August and seemed to be doing well for a newspaper”. This must be attributed to wishful thinking. According to official Portuguese auditing organization APC, the print run dropped from 45,000 (not 100,000) to 37,000 during 2009 while paid circulation was around 15,000 at the end of 2009.
Also, the new concept seemed to have borrowed from the Dutch nrc.next (paid circulation 65,000 – lite morning version of liberal evening broadsheet NRC) and Publico (Spain).
Other cheaper, liter papers are Welt Kompakt (no circulation known, lite version of Die Welt), Espresso (Belgium, closed down), 20 cent (Germany, closed down), Direkt (Cologne, closed down), News (Frankfurt, closed down), Dziennik (Poland, merged).
US papers RedEye and Red Streak (Chicago) started as paid cheaper versions of paid papers (Tribune, Sun-Times); Red Streak closed, RedEye (logo left) went free.