Engineer goes digital-only after 156 years in print

One of the UK's oldest trade magazines – The Engineer – is going digital-only after 156 years in print.

The magazine's owner, Centaur Media, is proposing the last fortnightly print edition will be published next Monday, 16 July.

Two out of six editorial jobs have been placed at risk of redundancy and further jobs are at risk in the commercial team

A new page-turning monthly e-edition optimised for a variety of mobile devices is being launched this month and the editorial team will have a renewed focus on the website, which currently attracts some 140,000 unique users a month.

According to ABC, the Engineer has a total circulation in print of 28,457, of which around 1,000 were paid-for copies.

In a letter to readers published on the Engineer website, editor Jon Excell wrote: "The pressures on print publishing are well known. Increasing distribution and production costs, and the impact of an ongoing economic crisis on advertising revenues, have conspired to create a challenging environment for magazine publishers. At the same time, the rise of the internet — with its global reach, low production costs and unfulfilled commercial potential — presents some truly exciting opportunities…

'It's hard to know what our Victorian forbears would make of the proposal to close the magazine.

 

'Some would certainly be horrified. Others might well be astonished to know that a publication launched more than a century and half ago is still in existence.

'But none would have anticipated the rise of the internet — a technological development every bit as disruptive as the invention of the automobile or the aircraft."

He described the Engineer's 2009 website relaunch as 'perhaps the most striking evolution in its long history'and said the internet can bring some 'truly exciting opportunities'not available to a fortnightly magazine.

'Clearly this will be unwelcome news for many — If not all — of our print readers,'he wrote. 'But The Engineer will live on and, we believe, continue to grow.

'We have big plans for the website, including making more of our vast and fascinating historical archive, building on our news and in-depth coverage and expanding our video content."

Centaur has no plans to charge for access to the Engineer website. In addition to news, features and other information the Engineer has an exhibitions business and an online lead-generation product. Around 90,000 subscribers are said to have signed up for email services associated with The Engineer.

Insiders believe that with a potential market of around 600,000 in the UK alone, total focus on the growing digital proposition – rather than the declining print one – presents the best way to grow the business.

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