Press baron Evgeny Ledbedev has hailed the launch of i – essentially The Independent’s little brother – as “a red-letter day for newspaper readers”. The paper is being promoted as “your essential daily briefing…attractive to those who prize intelligence, convenience and desirability”.
Given its parentage, i is obviously more ‘intelligent’ than its Metro rival, but will it be deemed ‘convenient’ and ‘desirable’? Metro’s success is based, ultimately, on ease of access: it can be acquired ‘on the run’. Access to i requires a hiatus in the commuter journey: we will have to make a conscious decision to ‘stop and buy’. This may only take a few seconds, but this is clearly more inconvenient and, therefore, undesirable in comparison with access to Metro.
Moreover, where does this leave The Independent? Has Mr Ledbedev introduced, unwittingly (or maybe not…) a cut price cuckoo into his media nest? The Indy sells for – and merits – a weekday £1 cover price. But we’re living in straightened times: surely many occasional Indy readers will note the i’s Indy-derived content and opt for its £1 a week attractions? What’s Evgeny really up to?