‘Digital-First’ Guardian Ends International Printing

The first part of Guardian News & Media’s “digital-first” strategy is to quit its print editions outside the UK.

The international editions of The Guardian and The Observer – printed in New York, Frankfurt, Madrid, Malta and Cyprus – will end from October 1, the company told staff.

“Other Countries” beside UK and Ireland contributed 7.9 percent (19,097) to The Guardian’s May 2011 average daily circulation (240,101), so the paper’s total circulation will be smaller in 2012. Ireland carries the UK edition and is unaffected by the announcement.

“This is one of a number of steps that will allow us to focus our efforts and resources on digital platforms and subscription-based products, including our forthcoming launches on Kindle and iPad, that will deliver growth among our UK and international audiences,” GNM executive director Adam Freeman said.

The Guardian’s iPad edition is running late. The fall 2011 overseas print switch-off gives clarity that it is finally on its way.

This announcement not be confused with the theory of stopping the presses at home in the UK, where The Guardian will reform and downsize but not yet discard its print edition. But this does allow the publisher to exit overseas print press contracts.

Where does this leave Guardian Weekly, the printed digest GNM has long published? “We will of course continue to serve our growing international audience via our website and other digital platforms and we will also increase the distribution of Guardian Weekly in areas where we believe stopping the international daily editions will create additional demand,” Freeman said.

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