Tuesday, 26 October 2010

iPod, iPhone, iPlayer... i

Today say the launch of "i" - The self-proclaimed "first quality daily paper to be launched in Britain for almost 25 years". Which makes it the first since the launch of its parent, The Independent
Aimed at the "time-poor", it costs just 20p for its 56 pages - of which only a handful are given over to adverts. The stated aim is to be "a newspaper with quality, convenience and desirability" and "colourful and accessible, concise and intelligent... your essential daily briefing." Or, to put it another way - a cross between The Metro and The Week.

Does it succeed? Well, almost.

For convenience, it certainly does... the News, Business and Sport sections all commence with "The Matrix" - 30 word summaries of the articles in the following pages. Those articles are, of themselves, short and concise. The paper is also well ordered, with News, Views, TV, IQ (the lifestyle pages), Business and Sport all indexed on each page.

On balance, I believe it also succeeds in being desirable - at 20p, it will appeal to those who find The Metro too lightweight but grudge paying £1 for a more substantial read that they'll not get more than a few pages through before the bus or train gets to their stop. The puzzle page and various teasers throughout will also suit those who want to get their brain in gear on the morning commute.

It is the quality where it struggles most. While being, undoubtedly, of a higher standard than The Metro (which is the most suitable comparison outside of London) it will not quite suit those whose preferred daily fix is the Today programme... Indeed, those people will already be a day ahead and several steps ahead. They may have been attracted by today's cover story "The housing crisis of Coalition Britain" but probably not by the story trailed above "Is Bert [of Bert and Ernie fame] gay?"*

But that's not to denigrate the ambition of the paper, which has a great deal to recommend it. In particular, it has a refreshingly international feel, with stories from round the globe, not just Britain and the States. It's certainly colourful, accessible and concise. It is also more intelligent than alternative offerings. On it's own terms, therefore, it comes close to succeeding. 

As a consumer I may have some quibbles - in addition to those already discussed, I would take issue with it's claim to have "Britain's best TV guide". These aside, though, "i" may well see me returning to the daily newspaper market and I wish it well.

*the answer, on page 10, was yes.


P.S. For those of you following the "A-Z of my CDs" strand, the next entry - G - is tomorrow. You can record your guesses at to who the featured artist(s) will be in the comments section of last week's post.


Stephen Chapman... said...

The paper sounds good - but I fear that it will struggle given the new ways we now get news.

In London there is also the free Evening Standard which EVERYONE seems to read.

My guesses for G have been posted elsewhere

oneexwidow said...

Well, indeed... and given they share an owner, that may not ultimately matter in London.

Outside of London, and particularly outside of those areas with an edition of The Metro, it should have a very definite audience.

Indeed, I think it would retain an audience even if The Indie goes free, as has been much speculated!

Mind Of Mine said...

I agree with Stephan, I think its an ambitious and exciting project, but with the wealth of free papers available in most big cities and without branding like the big Tabs, I worry for its success.

Anonymous said...

In all honesty, London is different to Birmingham in that everyone travels via public transport down there, up here many people commute via car and never get their hands on The Metro. This will be great for us living in suburbia :)