Britain has not seen a new national newspaper for 30 years, when the Independent launched. That would be the paper that will cease publication - in print - next month in the face of years of declining sales. All other print titles are suffering a sales decline, and a corresponding loss of the advertising revenue that they need to remain viable. On the face of it, launching a new national paper is, at the very least, counter-intuitive.
And there will be no website, which is yet more counter-intuitive in this age where newspapers are trying to “go digital” while still being able to “monetise” the content they put out there, whether by erecting paywalls or getting advertisers to stump up more. All that The New Day will have is a Twitter and Facebook presence. But very little of its content will appear there. Just the odd teaser, and front pages.
The signs are not all good. Today’s first edition, far from “not telling readers what to think”, has a well-trailed article by the Prime Minister on why the EU is sufficiently wonderful for all those jolly good readers to toddle along to the nearest Polling Station in June and vote for Britain to Remain a member state. There will be columnists - invariably bringing their own opinions - although these will not appear on fixed days of the week.
And if readers are being expected to pay for The New Day, where is it going to make an impact when every large city is already covered by free sheets like Metro, which is established, dominant, and has the Daily Mail’s resources behind it? However you slice it, The New Day’s concept struggles to make sense. Print is in decline. We’ve tried optimism before and it has failed to make an impact on the Shock Horror merchants.
It would be good to be proved wrong, but I can’t see The New Day surviving for long.