KoS Media will also be putting out news via WAP to mobile phones and will be using YouTube-style technology on the local sites.
The project, which is the culmination of two years’ planning by former Trinity Mirror publishing director Paul Stannard and journalist Ian Patel, is due to launch in September – five years to the day since the company formed with the launch of award-winning Kent on Sunday.
Between 15 and 20 journalists are to be employed in the venture, working from the company’s existing headquarters in Ashford and, in an unusual move for the local press, all will be provided with laptops and mobile phones.
Twenty extra sales staff were taken on three months ago to prepare for the launch.
Saturday Observer editor Gary Wright is to become group editor of the new 72-page weekly free tabloids, their websites and TV stations.
Under him will be Chris Britcher and Dave Mairs who will between them edit the midweek titles, published on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
Kent on Sunday editor Bernard Ginns will also become editor of the Saturday Observer and continue his role overseeing the group’s county website kentnews.co.uk.
Kentnews.co.uk will now carry all the news from the local newspapers and their websites including their various niche TV sections such as Leisure, Property, Business and Motors.
The businesses are to launch in Thanet, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone, Ashford, Maidstone, Medway and Swale.
Each platform will carry similar names; the printed version for Canterbury is Your Canterbury Paper, the website is Your Canterbury and online TV accessed through the site is Your Canterbury TV.
Many regional newspapers have been cutting back resources and jobs in response to the downturn in advertising and to invest in their multimedia operations.
The papers will be available from pick-up bins across Kent and the company aims to match the circulations of the predominant rival paid-fors in each area.
The papers will launch against Trinity’s weekly Folkestone Herald and Dover Express (23,353), East Kent Gazette (15,040), Isle of Thanet Gazette (14,843) and Medway News (10,142) which are currently being sold to Northcliffe Media, and the Kent Messenger Group’s weekly Kent Messenger (53,987) and Kentish Gazette (26,786).
In 2004, the Kent on Sunday became the first free newspaper to win the overall Newspaper of the Year prize at Press Gazette’s Regional Press Awards.