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Publisher unveils three new county-wide news titles

Northants LiveA regional publisher has further expanded into new territories with three new county-wide digital launches.

Reach plc has announced the launch of Northants Live, Sussex Live and Hampshire Live.

The move represents a further move into areas covered by rival publishers – with Northamptonshire being covered primarily by JPIMedia titles, Hampshire by Newsquest titles, and Sussex by both, as well as other independent publishers.

The sites will be staffed by existing Reach journalists, who the company says will “bring relevant local marketplace knowledge and expertise”, with Steffan Rhys serving as launch editor.

The company has declined to confirm which offices the sites will be operated from once the coronavirus crisis is over.

Northants Live will go live tomorrow.

Preparations for the launch of the new sites began ahead of the coronavirus lockdown, as part of Reach’s strategy to “build upon the publisher’s existing audiences in a number of areas around the UK”.

Last month HTFP revealed the company had launched Cumbria Live, which appears as a channel on its Lancs Live website, and Worcestershire Live, which carries stories run on its Birmingham Live site.

Reach has launched 13 other digital-only news brands in the past year – Yorkshire Live, Ayrshire Live, Chesterfield Live, Cork Beo, Sunderland Live, County Durham Live, Newport Online, MyBolton, MyBury, MySalford, Torbay Live, Exeter Live, Mansfield Live, Truro Live and Herts Live.

The ‘Live’ brand, now used across the majority of the Reach regional network, was first used in 2015 with the creation BelfastLive, which according to April 2020 ComScore figures has a monthly reach of 1.3m readers and has experienced growth of 127pc year-on-year.

Reach Regionals managing director Alan Edmunds said: “We are building on the success of the live brand which is now five years old, reaching even more communities across the country.

“We have a strong track record of delivering trusted journalism to new online audiences and it’s exciting that Reach is making further investment in local news.”