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UK’s Independent back in profit after going web-only


London, United Kingdom | AFP |

Britain’s Independent newspaper said Thursday it had returned to profit for the first time in more than 20 years, after ditching its print edition and going exclusively online.

The left-leaning paper published its final print edition in March, the latest shake-up for the British press, which has been hit by falling advertising revenues.

Set up by three former journalists in 1986, The Independent became known for its eye-catching, campaigning front pages and emphasis on photographs.

The Independent has grown its digital revenues by 75 percent year-on-year — including 45 percent year-on-year growth in advertising revenues — in the year to September 2016, it said in a statement.

The decision to switch to online-only publishing sparked accelerated audience growth, with 74.3 million unique users globally in August 2016 — an increase of 18 percent on March 2016, it said.

“This historic return to profitability demonstrates the opportunities our move to digital brings,” said Justin Byam Shaw, chairman of The Independent.

“This puts The Independent in a strong position and with a sustainable long-term future, as we continue to grow our audiences globally and serve our readers and commercial partners with reliability and flair.”

The Independent was Britain’s first daily national to stop hitting the news stands since 1995 when Today folded.

The weekly News of the World, owned by US media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, closed in 2011 in the wake of a series of phone hacking scandals but was replaced by the Sun on Sunday, which is owned by the same group.

The last edition of The Independent on Sunday weekly was also published in March.


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