In recent years we’ve all been told by the so called industry experts that newspapers were on their last legs and would soon be consigned to the wastepaper bin of history. However it now seems that reports of the death of the newspaper may have been exaggerated.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the launch of 24, the new daily “national of the north”. Today has seen the launch of The New European, a new weekly paper aimed at the 48 per cent of the electorate who voted in the Euro Referendum to remain. Published by Archant, it is on sale with a £2 cover price in major cities such as London, Liverpool and Manchester. Potential readers in other parts of the UK can order it online.
Initially The New European will be published for four weeks, with Archant saying that the success of each issue will be a “referendum” on the next. It will be interesting to see what level of success it achieves.
Curiously, this is not the first time that a newspaper has been launched to cater for the losing side in a referendum. After the Scottish Independence poll in 2014, The National was launched by Newsquest to cater for the 45 per cent of Scots who had voted for independence. The National is still being published daily, even if circulation has now dropped to around 15,000.
I find it fascinating that publishers are now producing newspapers which are clearly aimed at a very specific demographic group. Of course, national newspapers have always had a core audience which they cater for; e.g. The Daily Mail for middle class Tory voters, The Daily Mirror for blue collar Labour supporters.
What is different is that these new papers are aimed at a readership which is defined, not by social class or by allegiance to a political party, but by a common belief in a cause such as Scottish independence or UK membership of the EU.
Do these niche publications point to a brighter future for newspapers? This type of highly targeted approach seems to be standard practice online, so why not in print?