Satirical newspaper The Onion will soon be only a satirical website. Today, Chicago Business announced that the remaining three print markets — Chicago, Milwaukee, and Providence, Rhode Island — will close up shop after the December 12th edition. Responding to the closure, company president Mike McAvoy told Chicago Business in an interview that "it's important to see The Onion succeed," despite sadness at the change. At its peak, The Onion was printed in nearly 20 cities, but that number has been steadily shrinking in recent years. In 2010, it decided to fully franchise its print edition — local companies would license Onion content, sell their own ads, and print and distribute the free papers on their own. "We have no intention of abandoning our print roots," said CEO Steve Hannah at the time.
"While the print edition is an important part of our history, we are very excited for the opportunities that come with prioritizing digital," McAvoy said today in a statement to The Verge. "Overall, we we will be able to cover more timely stories/topics, increase our video output, and become a better satirical representation of the current news media." Part of that video output includes Onion News Empire, a TV newsroom spoof that Amazon picked up as a potential original series earlier this year; a pilot debuted in April. McAvoy also references Onion Labs, the company's in-house advertising service. And he says that paring down its print run over the past few years hasn't impacted the audience: unique visitors to The Onion and companion site The A.V. Club, he says, have increased by about 200 percent since July 2012.