Archant to close Kent On Sunday as chief executive says newspaper is 'no longer economically viable'

Archant is to close the Kent on Sunday newspaper, claiming it is “no longer economically viable”.

In an email to staff, seen by Press Gazette, Archant chief executive Jeff Henry said the decision to close the free, weekly title came after the regional publisher had failed to find a buyer to take it on.

The closure will result in a “number of redundancies” with the Archant looking to find roles for “as many staff as we can” across other parts of the business, Henry said.

He added: “It has been a challenging period for the newspaper industry as a whole and whilst we have sought to stabilise this part of the business over many years, the continuing decline in commercial revenues has had an adverse effect on this newspaper title.

“Unfortunately, this means that Kent on Sunday is no longer economically viable. We have sought buyers without success; therefore we have taken the decision to close it.”

The last edition of the paper will be published on 26 November. Sister website kentnews.co.uk is also set to close, it has reported.

Kent On Sunday editor Chris Britcher said: “Obviously we are all hugely disappointed at the decision. However, we have seen the direction the industry is going in and the challenges we have faced have been enormous.

“We all take enormous pride in Kent on Sunday and during its 15 years I have worked with some fabulously talented people – and continue to do so. We will ensure our last two editions celebrate our legacy.”

Archant will continue to publish the Kent Life magazine. It also serves Kent through weeklies the Gravesend Reporter and Bexley Times.

ABC figures to the end of December 2016 put the Kent On Sunday’s distribution at 42,234.

KOS Media launched Kent on Sunday in September 2002. Two years later it became the first free title to win newspaper of the year at the Regional Press Awards.

Archant bought out KOS Media for an undisclosed sum in 2010, having previously held a minority stake in the company.

Following a relaunch in 2013, Archant was forced to defend its decision to invite two local council leaders to sit on an editorial advisory board and adjudicate on whether the KOS was adhering to ten “guiding principles”, including not being overly sensational.

Comments

3 thoughts on “Archant to close Kent On Sunday as chief executive says newspaper is 'no longer economically viable'”

  1. This happened because when Archant took control they literally suffocated the paper and its staff. The final straw was when they made one of the directors who helped create this beautiful, well informed, trend setting newspaper, redundant last year. The remaining sales team who were devoted to the paper (and director) and passionate in seeing it succeed followed suit, because they didnt agree with the new bosses, sitting back and letting it fail having no plan in place, feeling there was no other option, lest they also lose their jobs. Those who did stay jumped ship to the sexy, glossy albeit tired and old hat, Kent Life, because it was an ‘easier sell’. You are to blame just as much as those sitting in their ivory towers.
    I myself worked for Kent on Sunday and was a passionate advocate for the newspaper, I warned them they wouldnt last the year, if they continued in that manner, arrogance prevailed and I was told ‘I have never lost a newspaper yet’. That is the attitude which closed the best paper in the county.
    A sad day indeed for local media.

  2. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this is what happens when you waste £1m-plus on Mustard TV. First you have to cut back on your fringe titles, then you are forced to look at your core business – so how long have the likes of the Evening News and the Ipswich Star got? Of course, Archant could just shut The New European – having seen eight copies on sale at the M62 Ferrybridge services last week you wonder what profit there can possibly be in it after distribution costs are taken into account Over to you, Mr Kelly.

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