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February 15, 2024updated 16 Feb 2024 1:24pm

Countryman’s Weekly merged with Shooting Times, preventing outright closure

Fieldsports Press will double Shooting Times' pagination to accommodate the title.

By Bron Maher

The Countryman’s Weekly magazine has been acquired by Edinburgh-based Fieldsports Press, saving it from outright closure by previous owner Metropolis.

The title, which covers country sports such as shooting and hunting, has been merged with Fieldsports’ The Shooting Times and Country magazine.

Shooting Times says that it has doubled pagination to 84 pages an issue to accommodate both outlets’ content.

Earlier this month Metropolis chief executive Robert Marr emailed staff to say its subsidiary Emap had “made the difficult decision to discontinue the publication” of The Countryman’s Weekly after it was “unable to secure a new publisher”.

However Fieldsports Publishing chief executive Simon K Barr has now told Press Gazette that the business had been in talks about acquiring The Countryman’s Weekly since autumn and that the deal closed on 26 January.

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The first issue of The Shooting Times incorporating Countryman Weekly’s content was published on Wednesday 14 February.

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“Historically they’ve always been competitors, so it made sense that we acquired it,” Barr said.

Despite its name, The Countryman’s Weekly dropped to fortnightly in April 2023. The Shooting Times and Country publishes weekly.

Press Gazette understands the five staff previously with The Countryman’s Weekly have been made redundant, including longtime editor Tracey Allen.

In a release, Fieldsports Publishing said The Countryman’s Weekly had “garnered a steadfast and loyal readership base and continues to offer unique content to a hard-to-reach audience”.

Barr said Shooting Times will benefit from “editorial from the much-loved Countryman’s Weekly contributors, which will offer readers exceptional value in a significantly larger weekly print publication…

“The addition of this cherished title is a testament to our commitment to further growth. We are dedicated to expanding our reach and influence, both online and offline, offering an unparalleled connection to our highly engaged audiences.”

Fieldsports Press acquired Shooting Times last year from Future, along with monthly title Sporting Gun and Youtube channel The Shooting Show. The company’s co-founder Selena Barr previously spent four years as a news editor for The Shooting Times.

Fieldsports also bought flyfishing magazine Trout & Salmon from Bauer Media Group in April and, in 2022, five more shooting magazine brands from Archant.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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