So the sun has set on New Day.
The first totally new national paper for three decades has closed shop after just nine weeks in production. It’s been a short time in the sun for the UK’s newest national and its demise has been met with a lack of surprise from its peers, some of whom predicted that it would have failed even without the overwhelming challenges presented by the digital age.
The valiant attempt to provide a balanced and positive view of the news failed to reach the circulation figures it hoped for and predicted. With aspirations at the outset of selling 200,00 copies, in reality its circulation was around 30,000 to 40,000.
As part of our role to be the eyes and ears of our clients, we read the major nationals, regionals and locals before the working day has even begun, and the reception in the office had been lukewarm to say the least, its arrival on the first day barely registered and prompted little conversation about how we felt about it, how it was pitched, what made it different.
Comment in our own industry ‘bible’, PR Week, claimed that the paper “did absolutely everything wrong” and should have learnt lessons from Independent spin-off i which has been hailed a success, taking the best of The Independent and creating a slicker ‘daily briefing’ rather than generating even more content.
New Day claimed to be aimed at the ‘time-poor’ and although it had a presence on social media, it had no real website – the go-to medium for on-the-go readers without the luxury of thumbing through printed pages for their daily news feed. Instead a holding page directed readers to its social media or print edition.
On the day it announced its last print run, marketing manager for Trinity Mirror claimed that print wasn’t dead and that millions of people were still “going out of their way” to buy print titles and that these outlets were becoming victims a “printism” mainly stemming from the Soho-based media hub.
The concept was supposed to be a radical one, but did it fail to identify its audience? The printed format suggests an older demographic with traditional habits and more time on their hands, but the content had the more relaxed, lighter tone one would expect from more modern, fast-paced outlets, – referring to the Queen as ‘Her Maj’ is likely to rile the more traditional ‘readership’.
However, the paper’s editor, Alison Phillips, laid claim to some success: “The response over the 50 issues we have published has been extraordinary.
“I have never worked on a title with such engagement from readers. There clearly were many people who truly loved the idea of a different kind of newspaper which spoke to them. But the reality was we didn’t have enough of them on a daily basis.”
From this conclusion they can stand by their statement that ‘life is short, live it well’.