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Trinity out-foxed by a declining market

Terry portrait with tieBy the time he addresses members of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s premier series dinner in July, the dust may have settled on the debacle about to surround Simon Fox.

Trinity Mirror’s chief executive will be put on the spot at Thursday’s (5 May) annual general meeting after he and the board decided today that their new national newspaper New Day has not turned out to be the “exciting and innovative initiative” they claimed it would be just nine weeks ago when it launched.

New Day will take its leave of the news stands on Friday with the bargain-priced daily’s circulation below 40,000 and falling.

That is well short of the ambitious target of 200,000 set by the publisher ahead of its launch in February backed by a reported £5 million marketing budget and a staff of 25 journalists. It is understood that 100,000 sales was the break-even figure.

The Independent was selling around 54,000 when it ceased being printed just a couple of weeks after New Day made its debut.

Mr Fox said only recently that if New Day failed to deliver on expectations the company would either have to change it or close it. The decision to shut it down suggests it was failing, and, as the mantra goes, if you are going to fail, fail fast.

Trinity’s shares have also hit a three-year low and sluggish advertising continues to dog the industry. The company, whose other titles include the Daily Record & Sunday Mail, the Daily Mirror and Scottish Business Insider, can ill-afford a loss-making business adding to the woes bedevilling the industry.

Yet if the decision to close looks decisive, the decision to launch in the first place looks like sheer folly.

New Day frontTypically, there was a lot of nonsense spouted by commercially ignorant journalists with a misplaced belief that their contributions would be enough to sell the title. For the board to echo those sentiments beggars belief.

Shareholders, quite rightly, will demand a full explanation as to what drove highly-paid executives to back this idea.

Of course, it also represents a new low for the industry and New Day may even go down in history as the last ever national newspaper to be launched in Britain.

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