A 152-year-old local newspaper in Kent has increased its readership ten times over after its experiment with a part-free distribution model.
The Gravesend Reporter, part of Archant’s Kentish Times series of weeklies, is to give away 60,000 copies in and around the town as part of a wider plan to integrate the paper with its free sister title The Gravesend and District Express. The Reporter sold about 6,000 before the change and will remain on sale in ‘key retailers’but at the lower price of 25p, down from its normal 40p cover-price.
John Hooker, Kentish Times series publishing director said the move would put the Reporter into 20,000 more homes a week. The paper has also had a re-design and its staff will move to a new office in the centre of Gravesend.
Archant London executive managing director Enzo Testa said: ‘This is an important decision which results in The Reporter being available to more readers and therefore making it so much better for our advertisers.
‘It also dovetails with implementation of the ‘dual model’ idea which we have successfully carried out with our other award-winning Kentish Times titles since 2005.”
Archant’s Bromley Times, also in the Kentish Times series, went part-free in 2005, as did the Bexley Times in 2006 and Dartford & Swanley Times. Archant claims that the series’s entire circulation is now more than one million readers a week.
Newsquest‘s Richmond and Twickenham Times last week also announced it was going part-free and is giving away 54,000 copies in south-west London from October, replacing the Richmond Guardian which is to close.