Äripäev publishes its last ever print issue

Äripäev's last ever print edition.
Äripäev's last ever print edition. Source: ERR

The final paper edition of business daily Äripäev rolled off the printing presses Thursday after 33 years of existence. The publication will henceforth be available online-only, a trend expected to be replicated across Estonia's commercial media scene.

Äripäev's editor-in-chief, Meelis Mandel, told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" AK: "This is the end of a long process for us, an it was a bit of a shame; so much has been done with this paper."

Mandel says that this pattern is likely to hit other print newspapers in Estonia in the coming years, hastened along by high home delivery speeds.

"I don't see a very sustainable or lasting solution here. I think it's going to happen in our lifetime," Mandel went on.

Äripäev editor-in-chief Meelis Mandel. Source: Janek Luts/ERR

Äripäev circulation had been falling by about 500 every year, with the final circulation figure being 4,000.

The flip side is that digital subscriptions continue to grow, Mandel added, while the publication's radio channel remains on air.

Äripäev has around 18,000 digital subscriptions, rise of 50 percent on the past three-and-a-half years, the publication says.

Of other commercial newspapers, editor-in-chief of daily Postimees Priit Hõbemägi told AK that the paper is doing well, and the business remains profitable. No figures are available for this, since Postimees has not made circulation or digital subscription figures public for several years.

Postimees has, however, recently cut its Monday paper edition, following a 22-percent rise in delivery prices imposed by state-owned postal service Omniva. Hõbemägi told AK this price hike was the sole factor in Postimees' decision.

Another factor is demographics, AK reported, with those au fait with getting their news online, even if it is from a desktop or laptop computer, getting older all the time.

Evening paper Õhtuleht, too, has seen the same trend and has had to cut one issue per week.

The paper's editor-in-chief, Martin Šmutov, said that its quarter-of-a-million print readers do not overlap with its half-a-million online readers, "and therefore the loss of one paper day is extremely painful for us too."

Postimees editor-in-chief Priit Hõbemägi (left) and Õhtuleht editor-in-chief Martin Šmutov. Source: ERR

Õhtuleht's circulation has fallen by about 5 percent on year, to 35,000, though it still turns a profit, Šmutov said.

The one holdout is Eesti Päevaleht (EPL), published by the Ekspress Grupp, which is continuing to publish five days a week, though may also need to revisit the topic.

Head of Delfi Media Argo Virkebau told AK that: "We received an estimate from one publishing company that our publishing price will increase tenfold on Monday.

"With these types of prices, it is not very realistic to publish a paper and deliver it to the home. We could also move our publication time from Tuesdays to Saturdays. We certainly want to make a decision next week," he went on.

EPL has a circulation of 10,000, a fall of around a thousand on year, though when included in the overall Delfi package which incorporates its online version, this figure grows to around 85,000 readers, and has been growing strongly.

This means cutting one day's edition would not have a huge impact, he added, noting that overall the print paper will continue to be published.

The Ekspress Grupp also publishes two weeklies, Eesti Ekspress and Maaleht.

Postimees also issues various regional dailies online and in print.

The Delfi portal, part of the same group that publishes EPL, is online-only.

Äripäev was first published in October 1989 at a time when many new publications sprang up in the wake of the relaxed media restrictions put in place during the Perestroika and Glasnost' policies of the dying days of the Soviet Union.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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