The publisher of a series of hyperlocal monthly newspapers has revealed plans to open its 11th edition and expand beyond the city it serves.
Bristol-based series The Voice currently hand-distributes more than 90,000 copies to various areas of the city, having been set up by former Bristol Post assistant editor Richard Coulter and advertising manager Emma Cooper in 2011.
Since the initial edition, Filton Voice, was founded, the Local Voice Network has expanded across the city.
In addition to Emma and Richard producing their own publications in Filton, Bishopston, Henleaze/Westbury and Keynsham, they have since signed up three publishers who are now producing two titles each.
Former Bristol Post production manager Gary Brindle heads up the Voice operation in Downend and Fishpond, sports commentator and journalist Richard Drew publishes in Yate and Chipping Sodbury, as well as Frome Valley.
Former Western Daily Press sub-editor Paul Breeden has set up two titles in South Bristol – with the most recently-launched edition for the suburbs of Bedminster, Southville and Ashton pictured below.
An 11th edition is set to be launched soon, although the publisher has yet to disclose which area of Bristol it will cover.
Richard is now “eyeing up” other cities in which to found a new series of magazines.
He said: “Our mission is to deliver a high quality, informative and relevant news service for distinct communities, typically with 10,000 to 15,000 residents.
“We do have an online presence but our experience is that for a sustainable business model, local print advertising still has the most potential. In years to come, who knows there may be a different way of doing it and we will be well placed to respond but we are not seeing any slowdown … if anything, it’s the opposite.
“The key for us is that our magazines are free and they are hand delivered to every household. “Across the country there are successful hyperlocal magazines but in the mad rush to work out the digital conundrum, print remains profitable.”
Stories in the freesheets are written by journalists and the advertising/editorial ratio is 50:50.
Richard added: “The last 10 years have not been easy for journalists but we are trying to prove that, in the hyperlocal sector, journalists can make a living while working in the career of their choice.
“Our model would allow a journalist to dip a toe in the water while having a portfolio of jobs or work on the magazines exclusively.
“I do not say that our model is the only one, but journalists need to get real about digital and if there is no revenue, then it is not a realistic business proposition.”