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Time Inc. UK's NME to expand its digital-first strategy, cease print publication

Time Inc. UK announces today a new raft of initiatives from media brand NME, as it focuses investment on further expanding NME’s digital audience. As part of the new direction, several digital services are launching and NME’s free weekly print magazine will cease publication. This week’s issue of the magazine out on Friday will be the final free print edition.

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Paul Cheal, Time Inc. UK group managing director, Music, says: “NME is one of the most iconic brands in British media and our move to free print has helped to propel the brand to its biggest ever audience on NME.com. The print re-invention has helped us to attract a range of cover stars that the previous paid-for magazine could only have dreamed of.

“At the same time, we have also faced increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market. Unfortunately we have now reached a point where the free weekly magazine is no longer financially viable. It is in the digital space where effort and investment will focus to secure a strong future for this famous brand.” 

Since launching 21 years ago, the award-winning NME.com has established a leading position in the music space and now attracts more than 3m UK unique users and more than 13m global unique users each month*. On social media, NME’s reach is more than 200m each month**.

As part of NME’s digital expansion, it is launching a number of new services. NME Audio, comprising two new music channels – NME 1 and NME 2 – is available on Regional DAB, the TuneIn App and on NME.com. In addition, a new weekly franchise, The Big Read, is to launch on NME.com, replacing the weekly cover star interview. This in-depth feature will also be the lead item in a weekly curation of NME.com’s biggest stories available in the App Store.  

Keith Walker, digital director of NME, says: “NME has been at the digital forefront for more than two decades. Our global digital audience has almost doubled over the past two years. With these new developments, we are giving consumers even more of what they want from us. By making the digital platforms our core focus we can accelerate the amazing growth we’ve seen and reach more people than ever before on the devices they’re most naturally using.” 

Additional digital developments for NME include enhancements to its ticketing service and membership offering, as well as to its platform for supporting new talent, NME Emerging, through a partnership with fan and artist marketplace PledgeMusic.

NME will continue to publish special issues in print, such as its new paid-for series NME Gold. The second in the series featuring Paul Weller is available on the newsstand now and further issues of NME Gold are planned for 2018. NME will also be exploring other opportunities to bring its best in class music journalism to market in print.

Time Inc. UK is a member of FIPP.

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