'High-quality' Sunday free launches in Kent

Kent on Sunday: "gap in the market"

Former Trinity Mirror Southern publishing director Paul Stannard has launched an independent Sunday title in Kent. The new Kent on Sunday will have former TMS journalist, Ian Patel, as its editorial director.

A trial launch for the free newspaper was made across the county this month and the company behind it, Kosmedia, will circulate more than 100,000 copies on 8 September.

Kosmedia managing director Stannard, 38, said: "There is no shortage of reasons to launch Kent on Sunday. Kent is really bustling and will be the next growth county.

"It’s the gateway to Europe. The high-speed rail link is near completion and debate rages about whether it will be home to a new airport for London. Kent’s rapid growth needs the infrastructure to support it – this newspaper doesn’t have to look far for issues."

Feedback from the first issue has shown that readers want "a quality, editorially led free newspaper with the sort of supplements expected from their national Sunday newspapers", he said. "It all points to a gap in the market ignored until now by Kent’s newspaper groups. In the longer term, we expect the same formula to work for sister titles in other counties."

Kent on Sunday is based at Chartham and printing is handled by the Daily Mail’s operations at Bristol and near Cirencester.

Stannard’s team is largely drawn from Trinity Mirror Southern, the Kent Messenger and Kent Life.

Patel, 37, headed TMS titles across Central London and north Surrey until recently. He said: "Sunday papers do comment and analysis well and are the best read of the week, so the chance to develop a new, editorially-led, regional, free Sunday, with all the facets of a national, was something I could not pass up."

Sports correspondent Mark Baldwin, who writes on golf and cricket for The Sunday Times, was previously head of sport at the Press Association and started his journalistic career with the Sevenoaks Chronicle. Production and design director Jason Pyne, 31, is formerly of the Kent Messenger Group.

He described KoS as "a clean, high quality newspaper in the mould of the upmarket national Sunday tabloids".

The supplements are Sunday Motoring, Creative Appointments, Review on Sunday (lifestyle and entertainment), Exclusive and New Homes.

Stannard started his career with the Daily Mail and has been a familiar face in Kent publishing. He launched his first title in his early 20s. A succession of other publishing ventures followed, which he sold to the Adscene Group.

Later, when that group was absorbed by Trinity Mirror, he worked as a regional publisher before opting out to pursue other projects.

He started putting together the Kent on Sunday team in March, quickly supporting his own funds with private backing in excess of seven figures.

By Jean Morgan

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