Tindle Newspapers is launching seven new paid-for titles in London next Friday as part of an overhaul of its 147 year-old paper the South London press.
The titles will cover the same patch as the South London Press but will feature more hyper-local content in Streatham, Brixton, Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Dulwich, Deptford & New Cross and Forest Hill & Sydenham.
The South London Press will be retained as a standalone title but will serve “peripheral” circulation areas, and the new papers will be called, for example, the Brixton and South London Press and the Wandsworth and South London Press.
Sir Ray Tindle told Press Gazette this morning: ‘The South London Press has been a major paid-for weekly paper in London for 147 years. We are changing that from one paper into seven.
‘They will be hyper-local papers covering the same footprint as old South London Press but in much more detail.”
The roll-out of the new titles was set in motion last Friday and has been overseen by South London Press editor Hannah Walker and London managing director Peter Edwards.
The papers will cost 50p and have a combined readership of around 100,000.
Sir Ray told Press Gazette of the ‘story behind the story’of the new titles.
‘I stood up last Friday afternoon and asked if they could do it in 14 days. Somebody whispered to me, ‘you’re asking them to do six new paid-for papers in six working days’, and I said these people can do it
”You couldn’t ask any paper to do that’, they said. I said this isn’t any paper –this is the South London press and they can do it, but I’m going to leave it to them to decide.
‘By half past four last Friday afternoon they decided not only to do six in six days but to do seven in six days. And that’s the story of the South London Press editorial department.”
He continued: ‘I can’t praise them enough. They’re all working flat out willingly and happily. We will turn the South London Press into a more modern approach to editorial content.
‘I’d like to go on record as saying I’m proud of them – they are a wonderful editorial department.”
In a release, Walker said: ‘These are challenging times for all newspapers and in the fast-changing world of journalism we need to let South Londoners know that we are there for them.
“We are a trustworthy, reliable and solid source of information. Local news is as important as ever and we are determined to rise to the formidable challenge and champion our readers and our newspapers.”
Last month Tindle bought nine free newspapers in Dorset and Somerset, the latest in a string of newspaper and magazine acquisitions over the past two years.
In February the group acquired two monthly magazines in Surrey and Hampshire from local publisher Life Magazines, and in December it bought the Chew Valley Gazette from Northcliffe subsidiary Bristol News & Media.
As a further sign of his confidence in the future of the local press, Sir Ray last month increased his stake inregional newspaper group Johnston Press to 8 per cent, making him the company’s third largest shareholder.
In total it has launched or acquired more than 30 titles since the beginning of the recession.