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Publisher plans roll out of 'reverse-publishing' project

The publisher of a new “reverse-publishing” weekly paper for Cheltenham has revealed he has set his sights on similar projects in Banbury, Daventry and Stow-on-the-Wold and Chipping Norton.

Justin Mafham, managing director of Mafham Media, is due to launch a website and weekly paper for Cheltenham under the Compact brand on May 18, and once this is up-and-running he hopes to roll it out to other areas “fairly quickly”.

Unlike the relationship between most newspapers and their websites, Compact’s website will be updated hourly, with the best content also included in a free weekly printed version.

It is also partnering with Cheltenham and Stroud radio station Star FM, sharing news content and advertising and offering clients “a complete marketing mix”.

The printed version of Compact will be delivered door-to-door to 30,000 homes in Cheltenham, an area Justin knows well as he is the former commercial director of Gloucestershire Media, publishers of the town’s Gloucestershire Echo.

He is also a former managing director of Heart of England Newspapers, which publishes the Banbury Guardian, and said this was a factor in his decision to target Banbury.

He added: “Chipping Norton has not got its own specific paper and there is no free paper in Daventry.

“I want to challenge the free paper model.”

Cheltenham’s Compact will have between 32 and 40 pages, up to 14 of which will be editorial. Justin’s father, Colin Mafham, is editor in chief and a sales team is in place at the paper’s office on St George’s Terrace.

Justin said: “Advertisers have been extremely positive. The level of support has been even greater than anticipated and they are keen to support us.”