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Weeklies to merge as rival publishers reach deal

Two weekly newspapers covering one of Britain’s remotest areas are to merge as part of a deal between rival publishers.

The Lochaber News, currently owned by Scottish Provincial Press, is to be folded into the Oban Times, published by Wyvex Media, from next month.

Both titles currently circulate in the Lochaber district of the Scottish Highlands, but their respective owners have agreed that only one should serve the area in future.

As part of the deal, SPP will also transfer ownership of the monthly Lochaber Life magazine to Wyvex.  It is understood one job will be lost.


The last edition of the Lochaber News in its current standalone form will be published a week today, on 29 September.

Thereafter, it will be incorporated within a new Northern edition of the Times, which will carry the words ‘incorporating the Lochaber News’on its masthead.

The two publishers said in a joint statement:  “Wyvex Media and Scottish Provincial Press are delighted to confirm that they have reached agreement on the merger of the Lochaber News into a new-look edition of the Oban Times and the transfer of Lochaber Life Magazine to Wyvex Media.

“Technological and economic changes have meant that Lochaber has increasingly found it difficult to sustain two local newspapers and both parties have been engaged in positive and constructive talks to ensure that a strong local publishing presence remains a vital part of the community.

“Both companies agree that Wyvex’ closer geographical ties and strength in the market make it the sensible choice to continue to provide local news and services to the people of Lochaber.

“As an indication of this commitment Wyvex has recently strengthened both its editorial and commercial presence in Lochaber and will shortly relocate its current office to a high street presence in Fort William.”

Alister Bennet, managing director of Wyvex Media and Thelma Henderson, managing director of Scottish Provincial Press commented: “We are delighted that we were able to reach agreement on the future publishing strategy for Lochaber.

“This agreement ensures a bright, sustainable publishing future for Lochaber and importantly will deliver even better news coverage and value for readers and advertisers alike.”

According to its most recently-audited ABC figures, the Lochaber News had an average weekly circulation of 2,101.

The Oban Times, which circulates over a wider area, averages a weekly sale of 11,608.


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  • September 22, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Whilst not being overly familiar with the area or its titles the general principal of two local rivals merging seems a sound business proposition to me.
    At a time of record low copy sales, high overheads and apathy around weekly papers across the U.K., a merger to publish one stronger title thus reducing costs,albeit with staff numbers similarly reduced seems a viable solution to a situation that’s only going to get worse.
    As readers walk away getting their local news instantly and for free on line and business’s choosing alternate or competitor publications to reach an audience, one decent paper in an area as opposed to two competing titles has abetted chance of survival than holding their grounds and hoping things improve
    All good wishes to those involved

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  • September 22, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Let me be the first proclaimer to say, ‘Lochaber News no more…’

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  • September 24, 2016 at 7:53 am

    I hesitate to suggest it, but this really is the Lochaber Axe.

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