Journalists at the Independent should feel liberated from the “flat world of copy plus pictures”, according to the editor of the Independent’s website, who has predicted that more national newspapers will ditch their print titles within the next 15 years.
Christian Broughton has revealed that he believes the closure of the Independent print titles was inevitable and that he now hopes that the Independent brand will have an advantage over Fleet Street rivals by becoming the first pure-play digital offering.
Speaking on the Mediafocus podcast, Broughton said: “I hope we feel a moment of kind of liberation from the necessities of print with their evening deadlines and their kind of flat worlds of copy plus pictures. You can do so much more [in digital].
“I certainly think none of us around the table would say that every print title that exists now will also exist in ten to 15 years time. I think that is pretty much a given. The stark declines in readership and revenues is not going to be reversed.
Last month Evgeny Lebedev confirmed that the Independent and Independent on Sunday would stop printing, with the last editions published in late March.
The closure of the two titles follows the sale of stablemate i to Johnson Press for £25m.
Broughton added: “I think the first reaction people had was one of surprise and shock really. But when you look at our business and you look at where our audience are. The audience really did make the decision for us.
“The print product represents one percent of our daily audience. The digital side is growing incredibly quickly both in terms of audience numbers and revenues.
"It is clearly going to be the future of the Independent and possibly the future of a few other newspapers.”
In December, the Independent.co.uk attracted 2.8 million unique browsers per day and 59 million over the course of the month, according to ABC figures.
Around 21.4 million unique browsers per month come to the website from the UK , with the rest coming from around the world. The Independent's last reported print circualtion was 55,193 in January this year.
The Independent has recently launched a paid-for app for tablet computers which aims to replicate a newspaper-style reading experience and costs £2.99 a week.
Broughton said the Independent.co.uk had been profitable for the past three years.
“This is not something many sites can really say,” Broughton added.