Condensed version of UK newspaper available

 LONDON —A British
newspaper has launched a condensed and cheaper version in an effort to lure back
dwindling numbers of paper readers and resuscitating poor sales. 

 The
Independent, owned by Russian tycoon Alexander Lebedev, launched the spin-off
called “i” – a daily tabloid that shares the main paper’s editorial
staff, but focuses on news briefs and digested opinion pieces aimed at
“time-poor newspaper readers” and younger people. 

 The
new daily costs just $0.32, compared to The Independent, which costs $1.59.  

 Andrew
Mullins, the new paper’s managing editor, said it will bring in readers who
have shunned paid dailies. 

 “We
are creating a newspaper for the 21st century,” he said. 

 Found
in 1986, The Independent has the smallest circulation out of all of Britain’s
11 national daily papers, which have all suffered from decreasing sales. The
Independent currently sells around 183,000 a day, down from about 250,000 in
2006. 

 The
paper was bought for $1.58 in March by Lebedev, who also owns The Evening
Standard. That paper received a boost in circulation when it became a free
daily in 2009. 

 The
condensed “i” has a daily sales potential of more than 200,000,
Mullins said. 

 But
analysts were sceptical that the new paper’s “at-a-glance” strategy
and low price can achieve its aims. 

 “I
think ‘i’ is an attempt by the publishers to have their cake and read it
too,” said George Brock, Head of Journalism at City University London.
“They’ve got a serious quality paper costing too much to run and they want
to try and pull off the trick of using its material in a briefer … slicker
way.” 

 Brock
also said the digested read may not have enough substance. 

 “You’ve
got to have substance for people to want to read your newspaper, at any price,”
he said. “But I think ‘i’ doesn’t have very much of it.”