A regional publisher’s national daily for the North of England will close tomorrow less than six weeks after its launch.
The CN Group has announced Friday’s edition of 24 will be its last after failing to find the “scale” of audience it had hoped for.
Sales of the newspaper had dipped following what the company described as a “steady” start following its first issue on 21 June.
The group had hoped to promote the newspaper as an alternative to “London-centric” news coverage, with it being dubbed ‘The North’s National’.
The tabloid, priced at 40p, has been circulated in an area of the North West stretching from Preston in the south to Lockerbie in the north and Workington in the west to Hexham in the east.
The closure was revealed in an announcement to staff by CN Group chief executive Miller Hogg, which has been seen by HTFP.
No jobs have been lost as a result and the two new staff recruited to help with the newspaper, which took much of its content from the Press Association, are being moved to other roles within the group.
In the announcement, Miller said: “We were specifically trying to see if there was a disenfranchised national readership from those who wanted their national news without any spin or rhetoric. This audience in the scale we need is obviously not there.
“The sales have dipped following a steady start in the first few weeks and the senior team and myself have come to the conclusion that it does not have a future despite our best efforts.
“As I said when we were launching it, we will be brave and decisive in our plans for launching things but at the same time have firm success measurements and not keep something going if it’s not attaining, or close to attaining, those criteria.
“We have many ideas but limited resources and we must not continue with things that will not move us forward in the longer term.”
Miller added a lot had been learned during the launch period which would help the company “tremendously” in future planning for other ideas.
He also praised group editorial director David Helliwell and 24 editor Mike Haworth for their work on the project.
Miller continued: “We have not taken this decision lightly and we have looked at many ways to see if 24 still has a future.
“Despite our best efforts in looking at how we could continue it into our two dailies or keep it as a digital product we could not make the numbers work, therefore it will cease as a brand with its last issue printed and published on Friday 29 July.
“There are no jobs impacted as a result of this decision as those working on 24 will be asked to work on other projects or move to one of our vacant positions within the group. This project has not cost the business as all investment has been self-financed through ads and cover price as well as internal resources.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with 24 as it has been a great effort, but as I have said many times we will fail in some of the things we will do, but we dust ourselves down and get on with the next phase of our development which we are well progressed with and I will announce those plans soon.”
In an official announcement this morning, David added: “We were proud of the design and content and had encouraging feedback and buy-in from advertisers but unfortunately copy sales are just not high enough to justify continuing daily publication. It was always a calculated risk to see whether there was enough of a gap for us to squeeze into beside the big beasts of the daily market and it hasn’t come off.
“We launched quickly, failed quickly and learned an awful lot along the way. We’re obviously disappointed it didn’t work out but it hasn’t diminished our appetite for trying new publications, be they print or digital.
“The closure in no way reflects on the dedicated efforts of the small editorial team who produced 24 on a daily basis to a high standard. I’d also like to thank PA for their considerable support in this venture. It was their wealth of content that allowed us to even think of launching 24 and it’s been a pleasure working with them.”