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Trinity Mirror axes daily tablet edition after seven months

A daily tablet newspaper hailed as marking a “new era” in regional journalism has been axed after just seven months.

Trinity Mirror has confirmed that the Birmingham Post’s Business Daily tablet edition, which had been available to subscribers for £9.99 a month, has been scrapped

The edition was launched in June in a blaze of publicity following an advertising campaign with the slogan:  “Make it your business, daily.”

At the time, Trinity executives claimed it would “reinvent business journalism within the regional press” and take the Post brand into a “new era.”

The tablet edition was available for download each weekday morning with 30 pages of business news.

It entered an already crowded marketplace with both Insider Media and TheBusinessDesk.com also publishing daily business news alerts in the Birmingham city region.

The launch of the app had been seen a way for the Post, whose print edition went weekly in 2009, to reinvent itself as a daily title.

A sister business daily tablet app for Liverpool, also launched last June under the Liverpool Post brand, was axed in December when the newspaper itself was closed.

A Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “It is in the nature of being an innovative business in a fast-changing sector that some new initiatives do not succeed, and this has been the case with Business Daily.

“However, we have learned a great deal about publishing for tablets and the local business audience and have also been able to experiment with data journalism and info graphics thanks to the project.

“All of this will stand us in good stead for the future as we look to develop the online and print presence of the Birmingham Post.

“Indeed, we will use the Business Daily’s technological platform to develop a new e-edition of the Birmingham Post.”

15 comments

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  • January 22, 2014 at 7:58 am
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    I wonder how much the poor hard-pressed shareholders of Trinity Mirror invested in this little disaster? It was a terrible idea – but I bet the bosses who dreamed it up will stay secure in their jobs!

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  • January 22, 2014 at 10:23 am
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    Didn’t give it much time to succeed did they? Lots of staff and money wasted on that to give up after seven months. It is also new Birmingham MD Marc Reeves’ first real act – to axe a pilot digital project, which is a shame.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 11:25 am
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    Looks to me like a great idea poorly executed…and why give it just seven months to succeed ? Surely at least eighteen months would have been a more reasonable time frame.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 11:29 am
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    I quite like that front page. Works as a tablet news page. It is quite like the BBC News tablet edition or Flipboard. Seems barmy to start it then spike it before it can walk. Smacks of a managment that is casting around not really knowing what digital path to follow.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 11:49 am
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    It is, of course, a shame that it didn’t work. But I think it’s credit to the likes of Marc Reeves and Post editor Stacey Barnfield to quickly realise and to take the right action. If it’s an obvious non-runner, it needs that self-awareness not to continue backing it. And then move on.

    Journalism ‘needs experiments’* like this to find out what works, what doesn’t, in which market places, for which brands. Now that they’ve tried, they know, and I’m sure will take good learning into the next project.

    What was good about the tablet Post was the enthusiasm of the staff who, from nowhere and with little extra resource, launched and consistently filled a decent daily read. It wasn’t right for that brand, but those efforts will work somewhere.

    * See Out of Print by George Brock for more on how journalism in the 21st century must trial and error to survive. The relevant chapter was called something like ‘Throwing spaghetti at walls’ (to find out what sticks).

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  • January 22, 2014 at 12:39 pm
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    Who is this pontificating bloke Steve Dyson? Delivering poorly thought out verdicts on local newspapers up and down the UK for as long as I can remember? Any provincial journalist of 40+ years old could do the same.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm
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    At first glance it looks little too pricey at £9.99 a month, though undeniably good value if you’re downloading it every day. The FT is £5.19 a week. Maybe some expert retail psychology needs applying ?

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  • January 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm
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    a tenner a month sounds way too expensive for a niche subject (especially as there were competing sources, presumably bringing the same news but cheaper). Surprised they didn’t start free or limited and work their way up – would love to know how many subscribers they attracted at that price!

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  • January 22, 2014 at 1:35 pm
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    It’s the end of the internet. Mark my words, this is the first step back to ink and typesetters.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 2:40 pm
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    I’m normally the first to lay into Trinity Mirror and deliver a thoroughly-deserved good kicking but you have to at least give them credit for trying something new – and investing in it – something of a rarity in newspapers these days.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 2:48 pm
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    There is a temptation in Digital to quickly run ‘projects’ try them out and close them down if they aren’t earning a buck – fair enough.

    However, the downside is that there is a danger in that people will see that publishers try and build communities – don’t give them enough time to build and they stop supporting the people that have signed up to them and committed to the project.

    I’ve seen this happen multiple times.

    Do this enough times and you will lose your web communities and when you try and launch new projects no one will trust you not to close them down within a few months. Digital communities take years to build you won’t success overnight.

    Just a thought.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm
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    It was a simply terrible idea – sadly, all too typical of Trinity Mirror’s obsession with believing they can make money out of the internet. They can’t….people like Amazon make profits from website trade, not newspaper publishers.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm
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    The ironic thing here, which people have missed, is that it’s being culled just at the time it’s potential audience is about to explode. Tablets were the undisputed sales success of Christmas – just look at your own family to see how they have quickly become a critical device in the way people consume information. Unlike Steve, I think the braver decision would have been for those involved to reflect that they may not have got their model right first time – no one will pay £9.99 – and look to take advantage in the surge of popularity with a low cost revamp that actually plays to a tablet’s strengths. Video, interaction, click through to further information is what works on tablet – not info graphics. For a niche product like this, innovate and build an audience, and ad revenue will follow. Less a brave decision, more a missed opportunity.

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  • January 22, 2014 at 8:28 pm
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    It was a stupid idea from the start. We were told by the powers-that-be that this would be the future and that it was going to be the prototype for new platforms across the whole of Trinity Mirror.
    But yet again the bosses have proved we have little or no idea what we’re doing in the digital world.
    Our digital strategy is as old and tired as the people dictating it to us.

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