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Publisher in U-turn on launch of new free weekly

A regional publisher which planned to launch a new free weekly paper has made a U-turn on the decision, resulting in its manager losing his job.

Archant created the Lynn Free Press in March as a 64-page supplement published inside the Lynn & West edition of the Eastern Daily Press every Thursday, which has a circulation of around 8,000.

HTFP has been told that the company intended to launch the paper as a standalone title to rival Johnston PressLynn News and market research showed the insert had been well-received by advertisers and readers.

It is understood the paper was initially supposed to be launched as a separate title in May with a distribution of 25,000 but the company changed its mind on this just days before.

A decision was then made to go ahead with the full launch of the paper in September but a further U-turn last week saw this abandoned resulting in the general manager of the title, Alan Taylor, leaving his job immediately.

The latest edition of the paper which is published as an insert in the Eastern Daily Press

Johnny Hustler, Archant Anglia MD, said the Lynn Free Press supplement would continue to be published inside the EDP.

He said: “The package was launched back in March to provide readers and advertisers with a quality daily regional title and a special King’s Lynn weekly insert. That is still the case and we have no plans to change that publishing pattern.”

It is understood the planned new standalone paper would have been delivered to selected homes and available in supermarkets and newsagents, while it would still be inserted into the EDP as well.

A company insider told HTFP that Alan, who previously worked as the advertisement manager at the Lynn News before leaving five years ago, had been informed last Friday that the launch had been shelved indefinitely and his position no longer existed.

The source said: “What must be very galling for the general manager is the fact that he had been ‘head hunted’ for the position because of his connections and extensive knowledge of the King’s Lynn area together with 20 years local newspaper experience.”

A spokesman for Archant confirmed a manager had left the company.

3 comments

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  • July 25, 2012 at 10:29 am
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    I’m all for competition, but the sad fact is this industry struggles with it, usually because of poor decisions from management.

    It should be obvious how little sense there is in putting out a rival rag in an area which is just about big enough to sustain one (already well established) local paper.

    I genuinely feel sorry for Mr Taylor, but Archant have form here as this happened in Cambridge recently – Archant launched a free paper to rival the existing daily. Illife also relaunched its own free paper to see off the threat. Eventually the inferior Archant title was closed.

    But the net effect is when a rival rag comes into a market, the existing paper suffers a drop in sale. Often, when the rival rag fails, those readers never come back to the established title.

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  • July 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm
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    A raft race as the splash? (pardon the pun).

    Blurbs highlighting a flower show, sailing club and bowls?

    Says it all.

    People want something interesting to read, and for the local paper to tell them something they actually don’t know.

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  • July 26, 2012 at 10:18 am
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    that front smacks of design before content.(ie looks good but full of rubbish) Its coming to a lot of paid for papers very soon; watch the sales!

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