London. The first national newspaper to launch in Britain in 30 years is to close after just two months, its publisher Trinity Mirror said on Thursday (05/05), after it failed to find readers in a print market decimated by the growth of the internet.
Launched to much fanfare on February 29, the cut price New Day tabloid was designed to be a non-political, optimistic read aimed primarily at women and people who had stopped buying newspapers in recent years.
Instead, it sold fewer than 40,000 daily copies in a country of around 65 million people, prompting Trinity Mirror to cut its losses and admit it had overestimated the demand.
"We have tried everything we could but sadly we just haven't reached the sales figures we needed to make it work financially," editor Alison Phillips said in a statement.
"To have not given this a go was to mean we were content to stand on the pavement and watch the decline of British national newspapers," she added.
Britain, home to a centuries-old newspaper industry known as "Fleet Street", has like the United States seen growing numbers of readers and advertisers abandon print for online editions.
More than 14 million people from around the world visited the MailOnline website per day in March while just 1.6 million bought the Daily Mail paper. Many others get their news from sites such as Buzzfeed or social media platforms including Facebook.
With big brands paying less to advertise online than they would in a newspaper, that change has put unprecedented pressures on the industry.
Trinity, which also publishes the Daily Mirror, People and local papers, has seen its market value fall more than 80 percent since its peak in 2000. It said on Thursday it expected to hit its annual financial targets despite the volatile print advertising market.
In March Britain's Independent newspaper, launched in 1986, scrapped its print run to just publish online and in January the left-leaning Guardian said it would slash running costs to try to break even.
Despite the challenges, Trinity Mirror's Chief Executive Simon Fox had said he believed there was a gap in the market for a new title that, at just 50 pence, could lure readers put off by the sensational headlines splashed by many of its rivals.
The Independent had launched the cut price i newspaper in 2010 to reach younger and different readers, but the New Day was the first standalone paper to launch in 30 years. The 40-page paper offered a brief digest of the news and features and did not have a website.
Trinity has not said how much it spent on the project but analysts believe it had spare capacity on its printing presses.
"In order to buck the trend it needed to have a distinctive identity that would set it apart from others," said Steven Barnett, professor of communications at the University of Westminster.
"If was effectively competing with online sites and I don't think it ever stood a chance."