A newspaper launched in response to the Brexit vote shows a new path for UK media.
Britain’s New European newspaper is a publishing experiment: a pop-up newspaper aimed exclusively at the 48% of the country’s citizens who voted in the Brexit referendum to remain in the UK.
Conceived and launched in just nine days, the “pop-up” was initially scheduled for a four-issue run when it launched in July. But the paper’s success triggered a longer run, which continues today. The New European is published by Archant, a Norwich-based publishing company with several regional daily papers.
“Sales are better than we had anticipated and it provides us with some confidence that we were right to put out a publishing vehicle based on a zeitgeist,” Archant chief executive Jeff Henry told The Guardian. “Some have said print is dead. No it’s most certainly not. It has made money from the get-go. It is a profitable endeavor.”
The New European’s success is all the more notable considering the UK’s current media landscape. Last year, the country’s newspaper industry saw print advertising drop by £155 million. Globally, print advertising is expected to drop 8.7% is 2016. Titles including the Daily Mail and the Sun have reported heavy losses in 2016, while the Independent and InStyle have both shuttered their print editions this year, shifting to focus on digital.
In light of this publishing climate, it’s surprising that the New European not only met, but exceeded its sales targets in a relatively short period of time. Executives credit its success to the shockwaves of the Brexit vote, a uniquely polarizing and emotional moment in politics for the country.
“You don’t need a £5 million marketing budget and a three-year plan to get a product into the nation’s mindset if the topic is strong enough,” Matt Kelly, the New European’s editor, told the Guardian. “It is definitely a product of the moment…. That’s the heart of this idea of pop-up publishing.”
By launching as a pop-up, the paper’s lean overhead allowed it to move quickly to capitalize on Brexit fervor. According to Business Insider, Archant is considering adapting the pop-up model to tackle other events that play out on a national scale, such as a Christmas-themed TV listings guide.
In an increasingly polarized climate, pop-up print media offers a new way to connect with a strongly identified consumer group. With its success, the New European also demonstrates that print media still offers room to experiment, even in an era of declining relevance.
For more insight on today’s politicized consumers, check back for The Political Consumer, our trend report coming next week.