News & Opinion

i celebrates its fifth birthday

"Everybody said we were mad, and to be honest I thought they might be right" says ESI Media's owner Evgeny Lebedev in today's iReflecting on its launch five years ago, he explains that "at the core was an idea, a product, which fundamentally made sense then – and given you’re reading these words five years on – makes sense now".

Launched in 2010, i  was positioned as a cheap but quality newspaper. It was created with the premise of telling you all you need to know: "What this paper does is edit the world for you", says Lebedev, who puts i's success down to its price, interactivity with readers, and mixture of concision and quality. 

Given that i's market debut came during what Lebedev describes as an "age of austerity" - where the lingering effects of recession meant many were both "time poor and cash poor"-  the idea of launching a low-priced and concise paper looks "like genius now", but at the time "seemed for a while like a modern kind of madness".   

Five years on and the new kid on the block is fast becoming a success story, with Peter Preston saluting  as both innovative and instructive in yesterday's Observer.

Preston hasn't been the only one to recognise i's achievements. In a selection of well-wishes printed in today's edition, prime minister David Cameron applauds the paper for defying its doubters and quickly establishing itself as "an innovative campaigning paper".

In a similar vein, London mayor Boris Johnson says, "Farewell to the gloomsters who said i  wouldn't work – here's to the power of print", while broadcaster Ben Fogle points out that is "not only surviving and thriving in a competitive market" but was also named Newspaper of the Year 2015.

See above for a selection of i's best-selling front pages and below for the special edition i  cover wrap ESI Media created for media agencies this week. 

by Jessie Sampson 26/10/15

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