After 66 years of production, the print edition of NME Magazine is to cease publication.
Time Inc. UK, the owners of the British institution, have confirmed that this week's issue, released on Friday March 9, will be the final ever edition to be released physically. The magazine will continue in a digital format only.
Paul Cheal, Time Inc. UK's Group Managing Director, Innovation confirmed the sad news, explaining that resources are going into expanding the brand's digital presence:
"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.”
Today (March 7) marks 66 years since the magazine was first published, on March 7, 1952. The Official Singles Chart was launched in the magazine not long after on November 14, 1952. NME became a free publication following a relaunch in September 2015.
Time Inc. have confirmed that "as part of the new direction, several digital services are launching" including radio channels NME 1 and 2, but in a further statement to Music Week, have revealed that "unfortunately redundancies are planned".
Earlier this month, NME's Editor Mike Williams stepped down from his position after more than seven years in the role. Time Inc. UK was also recently sold for £130 million to private equitt company Epiris.