Independent free weekly Kent on Sunday has marked a successful ?rst year in business by launching a magazine supplement.
Managing director Paul Stannard said the title’s success had far exceeded expectations and the number of staff had already doubled to 42. He said: “I’ve been involved in 11 different newspaper launches. We set out to build a four-bedroom detached house and after four weeks we found we’d got a mansion.”
The paper employs ?ve full-time reporters and ?ve regular freelances as well as an editor and sub-editor. It was launched with £1.5m of private capital and operates on the same “pick-up” principle as the London Metro newspaper. Current distribution is 120,000 and it is made available at shops and supermarkets throughout Kent.
The new monthly magazine supplement is called Style and will go out for the ?rst time on 9 September. It will bring the publication’s total page count to 180, more than double that of the launch issue.
The magazine will be deliberately upmarket and include interviews with local stars, lifestyle features and other “aspirational” content. Stannard said he expects Style to break even from issue one. On the whole, he said the company was in line to hit turnover of £3.5m for the end of year one and £4m to £5m by year two.
Stannard told Press Gazette: “I was a regional publisher for Trinity Mirror and I started out on the Daily Mail. I’ve been through all the corporate bit and I wanted to produce a quality free newspaper. We’ve tried to create a regional paper for Kent when we’ve got our commuters going to the shop on a Sunday morning to pick up their paper.
“Kent is a bit different because it’s surrounded by water on two sides and London on one – it’s a bit of an island. “It has some of the best local weekly newspapers doing the community news but it doesn’t have a county-wide voice. We’ve ?lled that void that noone else is really ?lling.”
By Dominic Ponsford