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Websites take a back seat as publisher changes tack at nine regional titles

Walesonline editor Paul Rowland.Pic  by Rob BrowneA regional publisher is making nine titles ‘newsletter-led’ enterprises that will see their websites take a back seat.

Reach plc has announced the move at its digital-only ‘Live’ titles covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Sussex and Hampshire.

The change will lead to newsletters becoming “the flagship medium for reaching any given audience”, with websites supporting that approach.

It comes after Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Live adopted the approach on a trial basis in November.

Reach says the switch led to the five titles delivering against their newsletter page view targets.

Reach’s Live network editorial director Paul Rowland, pictured, said: “We are not in the website business, we’re in the business of reaching and engaging people.

“We know that newsletters are a brilliant tool for developing rich relationships with our most loyal readers – especially at hyperlocal level – so we’ll be asking a selection of our newsbrands to focus on a smaller total of more engaging stories, with a website supporting the newsletter rather than vice versa.

“We know we can make these newsletters the absolute must-read, must-share local news source in our communities.”

“With that spirit in mind though, we won’t be wedded to newsletters forever, if we find that there’s another medium for building a strong relationship with our audience.

“This is an exciting step in ensuring that we continue to keep our local audiences well-served with news tailored to them.”