The Independent: a retrospective as the newspaper moves online

The Independent and Independent on Sunday are to close as part of a restructuring of the newspaper's business by owner Evgeny Lebedev. As reported earlier today the owner of the Independent family of newspapers is selling the i newspaper to Johnston Press for £24m, one of the biggest changes to happen in the newspaper's relatively short history.

The Independent

  • 7 October 1986: The Independent launches as a broadsheet newspaper, created by three former journalists at The Daily Telegraph, at a time of discontent in the media. It promises integrity when Rupert Murdoch and other newspaper magnates are cutting costs and interfering with editorial. The paper goes on to sell more than 400,000 copies a day, competing directly with more established rivals The Times and The Guardian. A Sunday edition launches in 1990.
  • March 1998: Following a number of changes in editorial, The Independent and Independent on Sunday are purchased by Irish businessman Tony O’Reilly, who owned Irish organisation Independent News & Media (INM) at the time.
  • 30 September 2003: Both the Independent and Independent on Sunday begin a switch to a tabloid-sized ‘compact’ design, prior to The Times following suit. The broadsheet design is gradually phased out over the next two years.
  • 29 June 2009: Following a number of staff cuts in response to widening losses, the Independent’s circulation drops below 200,000.
  • 25 March 2010: Alexander Lebedev buys The Independent for a nominal sum of £1. He also receives £9.25m over the next 10 months from INM.
  • 26 October 2010: The i launches as a sister paper to the Independent. The paper, targeted at “lapsed readers of quality papers” costs 20p a day, five days a week - a fifth of its sibling - and presents syndicated Independent content in a condensed format, notably in a ‘news matrix’ across the first two inside pages. It represents the first major business move made by owner Lebedev and his son Evgeny.
  • 7 May 2011: A Saturday edition of the i launches less than one year into its life. It costs 30p, and provides expanded weekend paper content in the same condensed format as its weekday cousin.
  • 2 April 2012: The Independent’s circulation drops below 100,000.
  • 24 February 2014: The i’s editor, Oly Duff, confirms the first price rise in the newspaper’s short history. The weekday edition’s cost is increased by 50 per cent to 30p, and the weekend edition increases to 40p from 30p. Defending the increase, Duff cited other newspapers which had increased their prices in the 39 months that the i had been on sale. In the first week after the price change, sales decline by 3–4,000 copies.
  • 26 January 2015: The Independent’s circulation drops below 60,000.
  • 17 February 2015: The i’s price increases again for the second time in a year, moving from 30p to 40p a day during the week and 40p to 50p on Saturdays. Editor Oly Duff says it will put the newspaper’s business on a “firmer financial footing.”
  • 12 February 2016: Evgeny Lebedev confirms that the Independent and Independent on Sunday will close in March, as Johnston Press confirms it is to buy the i newspaper for £24m. The Independent will continue to run a digital news service under Lebedev, and will syndicate its content to the i as before.

Read more on the decision to close down the Independent's print edition.