UK's Independent newspaper to cease publication next month

The paper will go fully digital from March

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File photo: EMPICS Entertainment / EMPICS Entertainment

The Independent and Independent on Sunday newspapers in Britain are to cease publication and go online only, its owner has announced.

ESI Media said The Independent, launched in 1986, would become "the first national newspaper title to move to a digital-only future".

The daily newspaper's final edition will be published on March 26th, and its Sunday sister title will publish for the last time on March 20th.

Meanwhile the publisher has sold The Independent's cut-price daily version, the i, to regional publisher Johnston Press for stg£24m (€30.9m).

The newspapers are part of a group controlled by the Lebedev family.

Its other media assets include London's Evening Standard and local TV station London Live.

The Independent was set up three decades ago with the slogan "it is - are you?". But it has become the highest profile casualty of the change in reading habits brought about by the internet.

From a peak of around 400,000 copies a day, circulation has plunged to just over 40,000.

Owner Evgeny Lebedev said in a statement: "This decision preserves the Independent brand and allows us to continue to invest in the high-quality editorial content that is attracting more and more readers to our online platforms".

"The newspaper industry is changing, and that change is being driven by readers. They're showing us that the future is digital".