The Independent is now part of a global newspaper group with assets of 1.3bn and operating profits of over 120m.
The group operates broadsheet titles throughout the world. Independent Newspapers plc is the largest newspaper group in Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand and Portugal. It also has other extensive newspaper and media interests around the globe. It is a quoted company, listed in Dublin, London and New Zealand.
So what will we be doing at The Independent? First of all don’t expect a quick fix. We have allowed three to five years in our business planning before we will make the sort of returns we are famous for.
Second, we will re-establish The Independent’s position at the top of the market; its original position as the only newspaper with a truly independent view; a journalist’s newspaper where the best writers want to write free from proprietorial whim and where opposite views on the same topics can be freely expressed.
It will be a newspaper principally targeted at free-thinking people, intelligent, professional and keen to understand what the best journalistic minds are writing about.
Last, but not least, The Independent will be the flagship for our group worldwide. Interlinking with our other broadsheet titles, analysing international news, business and sport in a way that no other UK broadsheet can. There will be over 2,000 broadsheet journalists contributing worldwide.
We believe a realistic target will be a 20 per cent circulation improvement over three to five years and will be investing in additional editorial resource and in promotional support. (According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, The Independent’s circulation slipped to an all-time low last month of 216,488).
We are amazed by what the staff of The Independent have achieved in the circumstances. Editor Rosie Boycott and her team have already made a significant difference which we can now capitalise on.
Andrew Marr is back and is already making a difference. His role will be as editor-in-chief and he will operate the US system in which the editor of the editorial pages sits alongside and equal to the executive editor, news and features.
Rosie will be responsible for the overall presentation of the newspaper and will be the editor; she is a marketer with great style and intelligence.
The UK group will include our regional newspapers and magazines. It will have revenues of over 120m and is already profitable after integrating The Independent titles and after the extra investment we are committing to restore its depleted editorial resources.
Independent Newspapers (UK) will form an important fifth division of our highly successful worldwide group.
The Independent titles will benefit from additional expertise in such areas as exhibitions, training, telephone marketing, the Internet, market research and business analysis.
The titles are in safe, experienced hands. We have succeeded in a broad range of markets and have done so through a combination of patience and determination.