The Independent is ceasing print production, going online only

The Independent newspaper will cease print production next month and go online only, owners ESI Media announced.

The leftist paper will become the UK’s first national newspaper title to move to ‘a digital-only future’.

Evgeny Lebedev, owner of The Independent, said:

“The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers. They’re showing us that the future is digital. This decision preserves the Independent brand and allows us to continue to invest in the high quality editorial content that is attracting more and more readers to our online platforms.

The Independent has always been a pioneering newspaper with a track record of innovation. It has a proud heritage as Britain’s first truly independent national quality title. My family bought and invested heavily in The Independent because we believe in world-class quality journalism, and this move secures the future of these vitally important editorial values.”

The Independent front page, 15 February 2014
The Independent front page, 15 February 2014

The Independent launched in 1986 as a broadsheet. It was originally intended to reflect the centre of the British political spectrum, but over time it began leaning to the left, making it more a competitor to The Guardian. For a brief period in the 1990s the newspaper sold 400,000 copies a day (more than the Times), but circulation has since dropped to just over one-tenth of that figure.

The last paper edition of The Independent is expected to be on Saturday March 26.

Steve Auckland, Group CEO, ESI Media, said:

“The unique editorial proposition of The Independent is perfectly suited to the global digital landscape. Following this decisive move to digital, we will be as focused and uncompromised as any start-up, but with all the authority and trust of an established newsbrand – a truly unique proposition. We now have a clear and secure future path for our businesses. It’s also a further opportunity for our advertisers to capitalise on our growing, smart, affluent and digitally savvy audience.”

ESI confirmed that ceasing print production will result in some redundancies among editorial employees. The exact number of jobs affected will be confirmed following a consultation period, ESI said.