Guardian to axe international print editions as part of digital-first strategy
The true impact of Guardian News & Media’s new digital-first strategy is revealed today today as the media group announces it is to axe the international print editions of the Guardian and Observer.
The axing of its international titles represents around 19,000 copies of the Guardian and 18,000 copies of the Observer. It gives a clear indication of the diminishing role of print and a sneak peak at what the future of the newspaper industry will look like.
As I wrote, when the Guardian unveiled its digital-first-strategy, this is the strongest admission we have yet that we are moving ahead to a future where print is receding in the rear view mirror. This adds weight to that and weight to the idea that newspapers are now willing to slow cut back on print.
The move is also confirmation of what Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger said that readers no longer read newspapers in the same way, which lead to the question: why publish them in the same way? The Guardian has answered that question – in part at least.
The international editions are currently printed at five sites in New York, Frankfurt, Madrid, Malta and Cyprus.
Adam Freeman, Executive Director – Commercial, GNM, said: “Our international print editions have been a valued part of what we do for a number of years, but as a result of the structural changes affecting all printed newspapers we have been steadily reducing the amount of copies we publish outside the UK since 2010 due to reasons of demand and cost. We will continue to serve our growing international audience via our website and other digital platforms and we will also increase the distribution of Guardian Weekly.”
He added that the move was one of a “number of steps that will allow us to focus our efforts and resources on digital platforms and subscription-based products”. He said these would include its forthcoming launches on Kindle and iPad.
What’s interesting here, and adds to the digital is the future picture, is that the scaling back of its international print effort comes as it expands its digital operations internationally and specifically in the US. The Guardian is going head to head with the MailOnline in the battle for US visitors.