Within six months of its launch, media and entertainment company Network18 Media & Investments Ltd has decided to suspend the publication of its weekly print newspaper Firstpost. The 20-page weekly English print edition was launched eight years after the company launched its online news portal.
— Firstpost (@firstpost) June 6, 2019
The weekly edition that was aimed at catering the audiences of metro cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and the National Capital Region will circulate its last edition on Saturday, June 8. However, the print edition was launched at a time when print media isn’t exactly going through its best phase.
“Firstpost is a platform agnostic brand that has stood for strong and credible opinions and will continue to do so. The brand has believed in constantly experimenting and re-investing itself, and Firstpost in print was one such experiment to provide a weekend reading experience to a different audience than online. The experiment has provided us with good learnings. While we were pleased with the ongoing evolution of the brand and the compelling journalism the team produced on a weekly basis, logistical problems made the project unsustainable in print,” reads the official statement.
The statement further added that the quality of journalism offered by Firstpost would continue in digital and other platforms for loyal consumers. Over the years, Firstpost has come to stand for a certain class of journalism and Network18 is committed to its growth. The company will continue to invest in the brand, it divulged further.
As per the report published in Mint, in an earlier interaction with the publication, Rahul Kansal, business head of the paper and brand advisor, Network18, had said that in trying to cater to mass audiences, bigger newspapers of the country had left more discerning readers slightly estranged. According to Kansal, the company’s projections had shown that a general newspaper with a political bent like Firstpost could be a self-sustaining business proposition.
Although he had not divulged the investment details, he had said that it was a controlled, high-quality product.
The paper that was priced at Rs. 8 and levied an annual subscription fee of Rs. 249 had aimed at circulating 50,000 copies in Mumbai and Delhi each. They were hoping it would pick up the pace once the brand stabilized.
The advent of digital news has been tough competition to newspapers that are struggling for their sustenance. We had reported earlier how Hindustan Times that decided to shut its business bureau. Likewise, in the United States, various newspapers have been shutting shop since 2004.
According to the FICCI-EY media and entertainment industry report 2019, the print segment only grew by 0.7% in 2018 to reach Rs. 305.5 billion and ad volumes fell 1% over the same period.
The termination of the print edition of Firstpost comes days after another online portal Scroll had to lay off 20 employees, including 16 from the editorial team.