Trinity Mirror to axe ‘New Day’ after only two months

In this photo illustration a copy of the first edition of the New Day newspaper is displayed on February 29, 2016 in Bristol, England.
Matt Cardy | Getty Images
In this photo illustration a copy of the first edition of the New Day newspaper is displayed on February 29, 2016 in Bristol, England.

Trinity Mirror is cutting its losses fast. Just two months after the publisher launched a new national newspaper called The New Day, it is shutting down the title.

Friday will be the newspaper's final edition, according to a person close to the company. It will bring to a sudden stop an ambitious attempt to defy the decline of the UK's print news industry.

When Trinity Mirror launched The New Day at the end of February, it hailed the daily title as "an exciting and innovative initiative which builds on our confidence in print media".

From day one, analysts were skeptical about the prospects of the UK's first new standalone national newspaper in three decades. Yet few expected that the project would be killed off so soon.

Simon Fox, chief executive, said at the time that he saw a gap in the market for a paper that would cover news from an optimistic and politically neutral perspective. The 40-page daily paper, costing 50p, was aimed primarily at women and had the style of a magazine.

Yet it turned out that the company had badly overestimated demand for the title. Trinity Mirror's critics say that the company compounded its errors by failing to launch the paper with a sufficiently large marketing push.

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Official sales figures for The New Day have not been released but its circulation has reportedly been running at about 40,000, almost certainly lower than the number needed to cover its costs.

To put that in context, the Independent's circulation had fallen to 55,000 in February when its owner, Evgeny Lebedev, decided it was no longer viable and would be closed. He said at the time that other newspaper proprietors were "in denial" about the viability of their publications.

Since 2000, total daily sales of UK national newspapers have almost halved to less than 8 million, a relentless decline that shows no signs of slowing. Print advertising revenues have fallen even more dramatically and suffered a particularly sharp reduction, of 16 per cent, in the first quarter of this year, according to Nielsen, the research group.

In February, Trinity Mirror's financial results highlighted the challenges facing the newspaper industry. Pre-tax profit for 2015 fell 18 per cent to £67 million, while revenues declined 7 per cent to £593 million.

The publisher of the Daily Mirror and more than 150 regional newspapers last year acquired rival Local World for £183 million, creating the biggest local newspaper group in the UK.

The company will publish a trading update on Thursday and hold its annual meeting. Its share price has tumbled about 80 per cent over the past decade and on Thursday its market capitalization was just £320 million.

Trinity Mirror declined to comment.