Trinity Mirror’s new newspaper the New Day is expected to make a profit by the end of the year if its female-slanted editorial manages to win over enough regular readers and consequently advertisers.
The title launches today (29 February) and is billed by its owner as the first national newspaper to launch in 30 years. Fashion designer Mugler, Aldi, DFS, Vauxhall, Debenhams, O2, BT and Boots were the first advertisers to appear in the newspaper, which has fixed inventory across eight placements.
Born out of an extensive research process last year, the title’s emergence has surprised many media observers given the well-publicised struggles of making print a profitable business when so much content now is posted online. However, Trinity Mirror bosses believe there is still a market for people to spend quality time reading printed journalism – and more importantly, that they can offer a point of difference from it.
“The launch of our new national newspaper, the New Day, is an exciting and innovative initiative which builds on our confidence in print media, Trinity Mirror said in its full year results for 2015. “If successful, the title is expected to move into profit by the end of the year. We will provide regular updates on this investment as we progress through the year.”
Trinity Mirror’s challenges are made even more apparent by the absence of an online counterpart for the New Day. Rather than have a site, which would allow it to monetise inventory around articles, the publisher has opted for a strategy that (for the time being) will encourage readers to share their views about particular the New Day's stories via social media instead of actually publishing into these spaces.
Trinity Mirror is regarded as one of the more commercially savvy publishers by many planners and buyers and is known to excel at having an audience bundle that it can sell to advertisers and agencies. In isolation, its decision to launch a print title seems strange, but framed alongside its other titles and merger with Local World, New Day starts to make sense as a product that can enrich Trinity Mirror's overall sales. It’s a mid-market title, so from an audience and sales optimisation point of view, it broadens the reach of the company's product portfolio, allowing its commercial team to optimise inventory across its national and regional titles more efficiently.
Phil Hall, head of trading and investment at Mediacom, echoed this point ahead of the launch last week when he said: “The New Day is mid-market and it needs to be mass market, so the numbers need to stack up and it needs to be well supported. They also need to integrate that audience into their wider sell. If the readership numbers are too low, the cost of producing the paper will outweigh the benefits that they can get from optimising that audience. There needs to be a certain scale before the costs can be absorbed into the wider sale.”
Indeed, the publisher will be hoping to hit that scale soon as its print business continues to weigh heavily on its earnings. Total revenues dipped 6.8 per cent in 2015 as underlying print advertising revenue fell 16.6 per cent in what is a challenging market for all national newspaper owners. This was compounded by The Daily Mirror’s share of print advertising volumes slipping from 18.5 per cent to 18.3 per cent in the UK.
Unsurprisingly, digital revenue was on the up for the publisher. It grew by 21.9 per cent in the period, spurred by average monthly unique users rising year-on-year by 34 per cent to 98 million and with average monthly page views up year on year by 42 per cent to 725m. Underlying digital advertising revenue increased by 19.6 per cent year on year with digital display revenue growing 32.6 per cent and classified falling slightly by 3.8 per cent.
"Whilst we expect print markets to remain difficult in 2016, the continued implementation of our strategy gives the board confidence in our performance for the year ahead, said chief executive Simon Fox. “We have today launched the New Day. It is an exciting and innovative initiative which we believe fills a gap in the market for a daily newspaper designed to co-exist in a digital age.”