Newsquest responds to Johnston Press Brighton challenge with plan for upmarket free weekly in nearby Eastbourne

The Sussex seaside town of Eastbourne looks set to be the scene of a print newspaper battle between publishing giants Newsquest and Johnston press.

Newsquest is apparently planning to launch a free weekly newspaper in Eastbourne which would compete with two established paid-for weeklies in the town published by Johnston Press.

The move is apparently in retaliation to Johnston Press buying a free weekly newspaper published in Brighton, the home of Newsquest's Argus, in July.

Johnston Press paid £90,000 for the Brighton & Hove Independent, an upmarket free weekly title. And since then the title has been making further in-roads on the advertising revenue of the Argus.

Last Friday’s Brighton & Hove Independent ran to 88 pages, including a 32-page education guide.

Newsquest registered the internet domain names for www.eastbourneindependent.co.uk, www.hastingsindependent.co.uk and www.worthingindependent.co.uk in July. These are all Sussex seaside towns with established Johnston Press weekly titles.

The Eastbourne Independent website is now live and its masthead is similar to that of the Brighton & Hove Independent.

According to Jicreg, the Eastbourne Gazette, which is published on a Tuesday by Johnston Press, has a weekly circulation of just over 2,000 in Eastbourne. The Johnston Press Eastbourne Herald is said to have a circulation of just under 13,000 in the town.

Eastbourne has a population of just over 100,000.

Last week the Gazette revealed that it was planning to relaunch later this month in broadsheet format.

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