Newspaper analysis: The i at 5
Although it remains the newest newspaper print kid on the block, it’s really not that new at all anymore. Launched in 2010 to a fanfare from its parent publisher, The Independent’s little sister has made it to the half-decade mark.
When it first arrived the publisher trumpeted the i as a new take on an old medium. Bite sized current affairs that wasn’t a tabloid, could be read from cover to cover on a busy train without worrying about encroaching on personal space, and cost a fraction of the price of most competitors. ‘Your concise daily briefing’, as the tagline goes.
Half a decade on, and the i is a fully fledged member of the newsstand household names, with the cost of buying a copy now 40p on weekdays, and 50p for the Saturday edition (unveiled in 2011). This aside, and a few small alterations in terms of where content appears, not that much has changed about Britain’s most succinct daily since its inaugural issue. For those who aren’t too familiar, though, here’s everything you need to know about the title in question.
According to the Audit Bureau of Circulation’s figures for September 2015, the i claims an average circulation of 277,498 per weekday issue, giving a readership well over 550,000. A fall of over 3% year on year, this compares with March 2013, when the paper was at its peak, and boasted a circulation of 302,757.
Nevertheless, the recent drop was the lowest of any UK paper for the same period, with the exception of The Times. The Sun, The Mirror and The Star, which can be seen as direct competitors, all lost more than 10%.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out the i shares a similar viewpoint to The Independent, so that would be centre-left. That said, a quick study of the i’s front pages, particularly in the wake of the 2015 general election, reveals a greater tendency to focus on social issues when compared to its larger sibling.
Perhaps conversely, the i’s guest columnists include Janet Street Porter, who waxes on left-leaning rhetoric, and- from time to time- Nigel Farage, the outspoken Ukip leader who sits on the right. This is indicative of an overall editorial policy at The Independent to remain balanced and neutral where possible.
Content and sections
The Independent and the i share a good proportion of content- what goes into the Indy has a high chance of appearing in its smaller companion, albeit often abridged.
As you might expect for a general readership title, the i comprises the following sections:
News – National, international and society (25 pages, excluding front page)
Voices – Opinion pieces, The Opinion Matrix – a selection of letters from global newspapers on key current affairs- and celebrity gossip (4 pages)
TV – basic guide with highlights (2 pages)
IQ – Food, arts, culture, travel, event reviews (7 pages, usually including two large double page features)
Business – National and international, all sectors (5 pages)
Sport – National and international (9 pages)
Each of these sections have a front-page matrice, a little like link boxes on a website homepage, which are then expanded upon further into the paper.
What the industry things of the i
We asked one of Manchester’s top media buyers to tell us his views on the newspaper. This is what he said:
“Since its conception five years ago when it launched with print run of 133,472, i has provided media planners with a new platform for targeting an increasingly busy and mobile audience. i’s success is down to the clever position it has adopted in the market place.
“It’s a concise and easily consumable daily, which rivals the red tops for price and challenges the mids in terms of quality and now has a circulation of 277,498 and a readership of 561,000. It does, however, rely on its big brother, The Independent, for an online presence which limits its scope as a potential partner for advertisers. The Independent currently has 4.7m monthly unique users which sandwiches it between The Daily Mirror and The Daily Express.???
Stephen Bullivant, Account Manager, MEC