i newspaper, the essential daily briefing for free-thinkers, is celebrating the major landmark on Monday 26th October with a special anniversary edition featuring contributions from its readers.
Edited by Oly Duff, the youngest editor of a national newspaper, the latest addition to Mail Metro Media’s stable of popular newsbrands is the only national title to launch in the digital age, initially conceived as a “life-ring” for the struggling Independent papers in 2010. The intention behind the project was to produce a highly innovative, concise quality newspaper repackaging The Independent’s heavyweight journalism for the time-poor inhabitants of a changing world.
Early nay-sayers wrote the brand off from the start, joking that the name stood for: “Irrelevant, ill-conceived and, ultimately, ill-fated.” In spite of this scepticism, the newspaper now boasts the largest proportion of Baby Boomer (56-74) readers than any other newspaper, with a 79% ABC1% audience of open-minded, eco-conscious homeowners and art lovers.
Although the newspaper did come uncomfortably close to “ill-fated” – by January 2011, the new product was selling little more than 35,000 copies a day – its ABC circulation now proudly stands at 154,000 (+6,000 for the digital edition) with a weekly readership of 385,000. i is also 20% share of the quality newsstand market and in the decade since its inception, has spawned iWeekend and inews.co.uk, bringing the newsbrand’s total monthly reach to 8.7million.
Why has it been so successful? According to its founders, the answer is a formula with several key ingredients ranging from its format to its fundamental principle of remaining objective to allow others to decide their view of what is happening in the world. But the most important factor in its success is perhaps the simplest – its readers, who have bought i day after day for a decade.
Adam Leigh, former deputy editor of The Independent, noted that one of the most pleasant surprises after the paper appeared was to find that a product initially assumed to appeal to commuters in London and other major cities was in fact reaching a wider readership far beyond the metropolitan areas. He said: “We were getting wildly enthusiastic emails from people in parts of the UK that were far away from traditional Independent territory. They were saying, ‘thank you – this is the newspaper we’ve been waiting for’. That was exciting.”
Louis Jebb, i’s assistant editor until 2013, thinks it’s because the paper has stuck to its core intention: “I think “i” was always clear about why it needed to exist – it was for time-poor people who wanted a serious paper. It treats its readers as grown-ups. I think it has succeeded because it has never lost sight of that.”
Mail Metro Media will be celebrating i’s 10th birthday throughout the week with a competition for its advertisers to win 10 great prizes relevant to the newsbrand.