On the same day ITV announced it is cutting back on its regional coverage eight free newspapers launched by independent publishing company KoS Media hit the streets for the first time with a total distribution of 100,000.
As well as the papers the company, which publishes Kent on Sunday and the Saturday Observer, today launched eight accompanying websites with online ‘broadband TV stations’and a WAP news and information service as revealed by Press Gazette in July.
Over 600 pages were produced on the day with only a few minor hitches.
The papers are called yourthanet, yourcanterbury, yourmaidstone, yourswale, yourshepway, yourdover, yourashford and yourmedway.
Most of the front covers are different with news of Gillingham manager Ronnie Jepson handing in his notice, a Kent lottery winner and the announcement of drugs giant Pfizer that it is to lay off 400 members of staff all making separate splashes.
By next month KoS Media will have 190 full and part time staff editorial, editorial and sales staff compared to 15 when the company was set up with the launch of Kent on Sunday in 2002.
The distribution teams wear bright blue shirts emblazoned with the name of thelondonpaper style papers for each area.
KoS Media managing director Paul Stannard said: ‘It’s all going mad here. I don’t think anyone has launched eight newspapers with websites in one go.
‘All the websites and papers went live today and we soft launched the TV stations. We were an hour or two late with a couple of the editions but out of eight papers that wasn’t bad going.”
Group editor midweek Gary Wright added: ‘We believe that the combination of newspapers, websites and broadband TV is a unique idea which will change the way people view local newspapers.”
Radio Four visited the offices doing a half an hour programme on the launch as well as the BBC and Meridian.
The £1m venture has been the culmination of two years planning by former Trinity Mirror publishing director and journalist Ian Patel.