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Don’t ditch print, newsagents urge publisher

18 08 14 cheshire life iiNewsagents have hit out at a move by Archant to encourage subscribers to its regional lifestyle magazines to switch from printed publications to e-editions.

The Norwich-based publisher, which has been put up for sale by its owners, is asking subscribers to its ‘Life’ brands if they would prefer to receive a digital edition

Archant has defended the move, saying that it will help the company’s drive to net zero emissions and that anyone who wants to continue to receive a print edition can continue to do so.

But the National Federation of Retail Newsagents has condemned the proposal, which would see subscribers pay directly for the titles via digital devices, thereby removing retailers from the point of sale.

Its national president Narinder Randhawa said: “This move comes at a time when the owners are looking to sell the company and just goes to show the contempt that they have for retailers who have supported their titles for decades.”

Head of news and connect Brian Murphy added: “I would remind Archant, and any other publishers who may be thinking of following a similar strategy, that there are very few examples of it being successful.”

The move applies only to Archant’s 20 county Life magazines such as Cheshire Life, pictured, and does not affect its print newspaper titles.

Archant claims the new “eco subscription” is part of a strategy set out in the middle of last year to achieve net zero-emissions at the company and would help save paper at a time of rising newsprint costs.

Aspokesman said: “This initiative will help us mitigate increasing paper and print costs but the driver, at the point this strategy was set out in the middle of last year (prior to rising costs), is to drive the organisation forwards to net zero, which is of huge importance to us, the industry and our communities.

“This isn’t about a sudden switch to digital, it’s about encouraging our subscribers to join us in thinking differently about the platform in which they enjoy our content.

“For those subscribers who wish for their content to be delivered as a magazine, there will be no change.

“For those subscribers who are happy to join our initiative, they will have access to a new app and extensive archive.”