In almost all aspects of its existence, The New European is an aberration. Let’s consider the facts:

  • Print is, Brexit fallout notwithstanding, supposed to be on the way out according to popular belief. Most newspapers are finding it a struggle to connect, yet The New European is thought to have sold more than 40,000 copies of the first edition (more than the heavily promoted Trinity Mirror published, The New Day – itself the first new national print title since 2006).

  • This is despite the audience for it not existing before June 23rd. After the referendum it became obvious that there was a sizeable minority who represented a very immediate, very targetable potential readership. As a result it was brought to market faster than any other UK newspaper, ever. Nine days from bluesky thought to newspaper stand.

  • There is no long term plan and the paper is very agile in terms of the business model. As the publisher Archant put it, “After the fourth issue, every week’s sale will be a referendum on the next.”
    It was seen as, according to Will Hattam, the CMO (whose salary was probably the extent of the marketing spend), “an opportunity to explore new boundaries in newspaper publishing.” And it has certainly done that. It almost seems like a whole new business model – and one that makes the pop-up moniker seem apt. Just like in the restaurant world – the newspaper will sell, through established methods of production (in their case via The Guardian presses) and distribution, until it stops making sense. It would seem, at the risk of labouring the metaphor, that a pop-up newspaper has the same benefits of a pop-up restaurant in terms of content too: it can afford to be braver. It doesn’t have to cater to norms of taste but can try to speak honestly to the readership.
    Perhaps what stands out most is how effectively the zeitgeist was noticed and targeted. Compared to The New Day – whose target audience (‘a female audience between 35 and 55’) was too vague to be a realistic proposition, The New European wasn’t going to have to work to get people to care about the issues within. Through both coincidence and design, the paper finds itself a figurehead (however briefly), about a broad subject that people care for deeply.
    A positive sign for print industry, whether it works out in the longer term or not, and perhaps one that points the way forward to a more agile future.