Which is why The New Day, despite its laudably optimistic manifesto, seemed baffling from day one.
Its closure may have come as a shock to the journalists who poured heart and soul into Trinity Mirror’s doomed venture, but won’t have been much of a surprise to anyone else.
The plain fact is that it did absolutely everything wrong.
To understand why, it’s instructive to look at the launch of i, created by The Independent in 2010 as a bulwark against its own rapidly eroding readership.
The Independent itself may be no more (in print, at least), but i lives on – and is already thriving under its new owners, Johnston Press, with a daily circulation of 270,000 – 64 per cent higher than The Guardian.
i had (and retains) a powerful and compelling reason to exist – born from a simple series of insights, and informed by reams of research.
Despite costing less than a Pret a Manger espresso, busy consumers had come to regard newspapers as poor value and were dropping out of the market altogether.
They wanted to know the news, but were overwhelmed by titles that placed huge demands on their time and left them feeling inadequate as they filled the recycling bin.
And for years, publishers had responded to declining circulations by constantly offering more and more content – the exact opposite of what their readers actually wanted.
For Andrew Mullins, The Independent’s then MD, the answer to this paradox was clear: we should create an ultra-modern 'daily briefing' with far fewer pages, a meticulous edit of The Independent’s best content – and priced at 20p to make it a no-brainer at the newsstand.
Launched with a slick PR campaign and minimal advertising, and against a background of widespread industry scepticism, i was an immediate hit.
By directly answering consumers’ frustrations and catering to their media need states, we had created a product they actually wanted and recognised as amazing value.
Contrast this with The New Day, which for all its talk of "glass half full" readers was singularly unable to communicate either urgency or quality, while its pricing policy undercut any value proposition it might have made.
Trinity Mirror has done the right thing to cut its losses so swiftly – but the company’s shareholders are entitled to ask why something so muddled was embarked upon in the first place.
Adam Leigh led the creative development and launch of i and is now strategy director at W
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