A weekly paper in Kent has become the latest title to adopt the part-paid-for part-free strategy successfully pioneered by the Manchester Evening News.
It means the Archant-owned title, which sold 6,000 copies a week at a cover price of 40p, now reaches more than 60,000 readers.
The decision to deliver the Reporter free to certain parts of the borough will mean the closure of the sister advertising-led free, the Gravesend and District Express, which will now be incorporated in the main title.
The move has also meant a price drop for the Reporter which is now on sale for 25p. It is still for sale at key retailers in the town and surrounding villages.
Kentish Times’ series group editor Melody Foreman said the Reporter had also undergone a re-design and content uplift which coincided with a move to a new office in the centre of the town.
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.”
The first title in the group to go part-paid-for part-free was The Bromley Times in 2005, followed in May 2006 by The Bexley Times, and earlier this year by the Dartford and Swanley Times.
Circulation of all the titles together now amounts to more than a million readers a week across South East London and North Kent.
Kentish Times series’ publishing director John Hooker said: “We were constantly told The Reporter was the known and trusted brand in Gravesend, we have now ensured that an additional 20,000 households will see The Reporter every week.”