NME culls print mag, blames production costs and 'tough' print advertising market

NME has been published for 66 years

Friday’s (9 March) edition of the NME will be its last in print, its parent company Time Inc has announced, citing increasing production costs and a the “tough” print advertising market as reasons for ending its 66-year run on paper.

The publication, which switched from a newsstand mag to a free sheet in 2015, will focus investment on expanding its digital audience.

It will no longer produce a weekly physical edition, with Friday’s mag marking its last in a print run of 66 years. However, Time Inc has stated it will continue to publish special paid-for print issues, such as NME Gold, and will explore ‘other opportunities to bring its best in class music journalism to market in print’.

“The print re-invention has helped us to attract a range of cover stars that the previous paid-for magazine could only have dreamed of,” said Paul Cheal, Time Inc UK group managing director for music. “At the same time, we have also faced increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market. Unfortunately we have now reached a point where the free weekly magazine is no longer financially viable.

“It is in the digital space where effort and investment will focus to secure a strong future for this famous brand.”

The refreshed digital strategy includes the launch of NME Audio, a regional DAB radio brand comprising the stations NME 1 and NME 2. NME 1 has been handed the remit to ‘champion new talent’, while its sister station will play out ‘a range of artists and NME classics’.

Additionally NME.com will digitally publish The Big Read – a replacement for the mag’s weekly cover star interview. It also has plans for ‘enhancements’ to its ticketing service membership offering and new talent platform, NME Emerging.

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