New kid on the media block
The announcement that The Dublin Inquirer is moving from being a strictly online newspaper and will start printing and selling copies – yes, actual newsprint!! – caught my eye. Why? Because the global trend has been a relentless move from print to online.
Since its first copy was published (online) in June 2015, the publication has been a weekly, independent Dublin newspaper.
Managed by an articulate editor Lois Kapila, with an interesting back story, the paper marks itself out as taking a more considered approach to reporting about Dublin city. The articles I’ve read have in the main been impressively original and issues focused.
In two months the paper will have survived a year as a weekly Dublin title, certainly an achievement. The Dublin local newspaper market already has a large number of quality weekly newspapers including the Gazette Group’s titles, the various versions of The Echo as well as Dublin People newspapers and a host of area-specific titles.
But what really stands out is the Dublin Inquirer’s decision to branch out from online-only into print and, as remarkable, to ask people to pay for their printed copy.
The move away from print to online has been longstanding and well documented. Advertisers, editors and publishers have all followed readers online.
The facts are stark: since last year, online has replaced TV as the biggest slice in the advertising pie; in Ireland media agency Carat is predicting that spend on print advertising will actually fall by 2% this year, while mobile will grow by 162% and; in the UK The Independent recently stopped printing and moved to fully online production. While the “picture in the paper” was regularly a sign of success in a PR campaign, seeing a picture online on Independent.ie or Journal.ie is now a more impressive achievement, given that for a considerable period now more people read our national titles online than in print.
While charging for national titles is accepted, charging for a new local print title is a brave move. Almost all of the previously mentioned local Dublin titles, the Inquirer’s competition, as a rule tend not to charge their readers.
So is the decision a wise one? Only time will tell but, putting on my PR hat, what is certain is that the move has generated plenty of publicity for them, the best of luck to them.