Rumours continue to fly around over the future of The Independent and Independent on Sunday with the most recent suggestion being that Russian billionaire and owner of the London Evening Standard, Alexander Lebedev, could buy them.
There are concerns that should he take the titles on, he could give them the same treatment he gave the Standard and switch it to a free title. After all, both newspapers’ circulations are in a downwards spiral.
Nearly 20 years ago The Independent’s sales were around 420,000 copies a day, but now, according to the latest ABC figures, it sells just 100,480 daily.
Both titles may be haemorrhaging sales, but the removal of their cover prices at £1 and £1.60 for The Independent for Monday to Fridays and Saturdays respectively, and £1.80 for the Independent on Sunday would result in a huge loss in revenue for the newstrade, dealing another blow to the independent sector.
And without the support of retailers to get the product to market, the titles are unlikely to survive.
Hopefully, if the rumours are true and the sale goes ahead, Mr Lebedev won’t have a one-size-fits-all approach to UK newspapers.