The spin from the parent paper, The Independent, has been that the arrival of “i” is the first national newspaper launch in Britain for 25 years.
Except that it’s not mostly new. i’s staff of ten are repackaging the content of The Independent: smaller paper, chunkier mid-market design, more pictures, shorter stories, tweet-sized fragments of “commentary” and the dull stuff (politics, economics) taken out or truncated.
But will it work? For a survey of opinion see here (UK-centric) and here (European dimension); for an optimistic take, see Dominic Ponsford here. The best argument for launching such a paper in a declining daily print market is that the readers of the free Metro find the paper so unsatisfying that they will shell out the 20p for a nicer class of quick read. But I doubt that it’ll work. I was wrong about the Evening Standard going free, thinking that sums would not add up. But that move, under Lebedev family management, seems to have worked.
So here is a cautious list of reservations about i. Continue reading →