18.07.2016 Pop-up papers: The future of printed news?

Consumers are familiar with the concept of the ‘pop-up’ business – a temporary retail outlet selling anything from food and drink to clothing and electronics – but the UK has just seen its first pop-up newspaper.

The New European was launched shortly after the result of the EU referendum and targeted specifically at the 48 per cent of the electorate who voted to remain.

The weekly pro-European title, published by Archant, will run for just four weeks and aims to “play its part in this time of critical discussions”.

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A statement on its website says: “The New European is not aligned with old political divisions but with an enthusiasm and love for Europe; a new quality newspaper that gives voice to the values of the 48%.”

That the new publication has somewhat flown under the radar is not surprising; since Brexit the UK has been plunged into a period of economic and political turmoil that has dominated headlines and shows no sign of abating.

But with the overwhelming majority of the printed press strongly anti-European, it is positive that the remain side has a new voice, even if the referendum result is being treated by many as the final say on the matter.

The paper has already landed a scoop, with the current edition carrying an article by Alastair Campbell, former prime minister Tony Blair’s director of communications, calling on new prime minister Theresa May to hold a second referendum.

We have written about the continued demise of the printed press a number of times this year, with the closure of the print edition of the Independent and the failure of The New Day, but we’re intrigued at the idea of the pop-up paper.

Could this be a potential future model for the printed press? It is not too difficult to imagine other events that might inspire pop-up papers in future, such as a potential second Scottish independence referendum, the next general election or even a major sporting event such as the Olympics.

Indeed, during this summer’s Euro 2016 football championships, Media Wales was probably producing enough content across its various platforms to print a weekly pop-up paper covering Wales’ progress in the tournament.


WM

 

Brand loyalty might be an issue. The New European can rely on the support of the ‘48 per cent’, but more general readers would need a good reason to buy future pop-ups. This model might succeed if the pop-ups were spin-offs of already popular news brands.

Might we even see the concept spread to the digital domain? Printed newspapers are less popular and therefore economically viable (see the afore-mentioned example of the Independent), but readers have shown a willingness to subscribe to digital editions. So it’s not inconceivable that we could see pop-up digital newspapers or even spin-off microsites from trusted news brands in future. It’s interesting that The New European has no online content at the moment. Might that change in future?

As it stands there are only two more editions of The New European planned, but we would not be surprised to see that run extended as the Brexit fallout continues. Who knows, it might even relaunch when the exit negotiations start proper, such is the transient nature of the pop-up.

We look forward to seeing whether this concept catches on.

What did you think of The New European? Do you think pop-up papers will catch on? Let us know@BrighterComms