Music publication NME will mark the end of an era as it stops printing a weekly magazine and focuses on its online edition.

The last cpoy of the 66-year-old weekly will be on Friday.

Its owner, Time Inc UK, said NME was taking a new direction and will launch several digital services to further expand its audience.

In 2015 the magazine became a free weekly publication, handed out at train stations, universities and shops across the UK.

However, the group said it was no longer financially viable to distribute the magazine, which was previously £2.50, for free.

Paul Cheal, the group’s managing director of music, said: 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

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.

NME’s website launched 21-years-ago and has a social media reach of 200 million a month.

(c) Sky News 2018: Iconic music magazine NME shuts down print operation