Straight from the things-you-didn’t-expect-to-see-in-2010 file: the launch of new national daily newspaper for the UK. And from The Independent to boot.
The Independent‘s i launched yesterday to what was generally a cautiously positive reception from media commentators. While Media Week‘s Harriet Dennys claimed the new paper was “basically an Independent lite”, most agreed with Independent editor Simon Kelner’s assertion that “we’re catering for two different needs with two very different papers”.
Describing itself as a “concise, intelligent daily briefing” and retailing at a mere 20 pence, i is 56 pages of distilled information – not just news, but comment too , both from the Indie stable and from social media.
The nature of the Indie commentariat (Hari, Steel, Alibhai-Brown, et al) suggests that i isn’t competing directly with the (paid-for) redtops but rather is aiming for those left-of-centre commuters who find the Metro somewhat undernourished. As Brand Republic points out, while it will be difficult for i to overcome free newspapers handed out at commuter hubs, there remains an appetite for print among younger readers.
Similar experiments in other markets haven’t entirely convinced, however. And while the bold branding (despite inherent SEO death, and the suspicion that the paper – or at least its forthcoming iPad app – is taking on the Daily Me) speaks of confidence, it’s hard to get past the feeling, voiced by Roy Greenslade and others, that i is “being launched in order, eventually, to replace its ailing stablemate” – a lifeboat thrown in hope from a slowly sinking ship.