NME expands its digital-first strategy

Laura Rutkowski

Time Inc. UK has announced that it will focus on 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 issue.

Paul Cheal, Time Inc. UK Group Managing Director of Music, commented: “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 reinvention 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 three million unique UK users and more than 13 million unique global users each month. On social media, NME’s reach is more than 200 million 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.

NME 1 will champion new talent on NME’s radar and NME 2 will feature a range of artists and NME classics. 

In addition, a new weekly franchise, The Big Read, will 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, added: “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, including its new paid-for series NME Gold. The second in the series, featuring Paul Weller, is available to buy now. Further issues of NME Gold are planned for 2018.

NME will also be exploring other opportunities to bring its best music journalism to the print market.


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