2016 will surely be remembered as a year of the unexpected. While bookies continue to lick their fox-inflicted wounds and political pundits come to terms with the presumptive GOP Presidential nominee, the national print newspaper landscape in the UK has shrunk once more with the closure of Trinity Mirror’s New Day.
Set against the respective triumphs of Leicester City and Donald Trump, New Day’s demise might seem relatively unsurprising. In many ways, the real surprise was its launch – only nine weeks earlier – into an increasingly tough environment for print newspapers.
Those new newspapers that have had success in recent years, most notably the Independent’s i newspaper, have focused on delivering a high volume of news in short order. By contrast, New Day pursued a feature-led approach, and aimed at those who do not or, who no longer, buy a print newspaper.
It clearly wasn’t able to reach them – or at least not enough of them. At launch, it declared its aim of selling 200,000 copies a day, but the reality fell to about 40,000. For those of us in the business of understanding how people engage with information, this has been a useful spectacle. What New Day showed us was that, despite all its undoubted market research, print is a much smaller and ever-shrinking part of how people are choosing to take in media. What it also showed was the challenge of vying for people’s attention in such a noisy world. There is no value in content that’s fine, or just ok.
This shifting environment is one of the things making working in communications so interesting at the moment. If we can take something from New Day’s short day, let’s make sure it’s an unswerving focus creating punchy and engaging content that’s designed specifically for the channels that we know will reach our clients’ audiences.