The Independent claims profit for first time in 23 years after going digital-only

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The Independent has become profitable for the first time in more than 20 years following its decision to become a digital-only newsbrand in March, the title has claimed.

Digital revenues are said to have grown by 75 per cent year-on-year last month, including a 45 per cent year-on-year growth in advertising revenues.

Owner Evgeny Lebedev said the title is likely to record about £20m of revenues in 2016, the Financial Times reported. In 2015 Independent Print made a pre-tax loss of almost £7m.

Lebedev told the paper: “By going online-only we freed ourselves from the unwieldy infrastructure of print, and allowed ourselves to be far more flexible.

“It is still early days, but the first six months have shown that by being more nimble and digitally focused we can better serve our new, much bigger online audience.”

He added: “We are profitable for the first time in 23 years, which brings with it new opportunities.”

ABC figures for September show The Independent’s number of daily unique browsers is up 17 per cent year-on-year to 3,253,850 – although this is a fall of 11 per cent month-on-month, equal to more than 400,000 visitors.

A spokesperson for The Independent said the decision to move to digital-only is the reason behind accelerated audience growth. The title now employs more than 100 journalists worldwide.

Justin Byam Shaw, chairman of The Independent, said: “This historic return to profitability demonstrates the opportunities our move to digital brings.

“This puts The Independent in a strong position and with a sustainable long-term future, as we continue to grow our audiences globally and serve our readers and commercial partners with reliability and flair.”

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