Print fightback continues with launch of new weekly The Times of Tonbridge

The company behind The Times of Tunbridge Wells has launched a new up market free weekly newspaper in nearby Tonbridge.
 
The Times of Tonbridge has an initial free distribution of 7,000 and will compete against Trinity Mirror's Kent and Sussex Courier, which has a paid-for circulation of just over 6,000 a week in the town.
 
Publisher One Media has an editorial team of eight working on the two newspapers and associated magazine titles.
 
The Times of Tunbridge Wells launched a year ago and has a circulation of 25,000. Both titles are distributed via free pick-up at retail outlets, through merchandisers and postal delivery.
 
Commercial director Nick Moore said The Times of Tunbridge wells is ahead of its targets and now has around 22 per cent of the local advertising market.
 
He said: "What we've found is there is still a really strong appetite in the local community for a printed newspaper, albeit a free one."
 
The title puts its editorial content up online, after it has appeared in print, and offers a mix of local and national news.
 
Moore said: "We try to make sure our content is balanced. Bad news sells, but equally we want to give readers a balanced viewpoint. A new development of 350 new homes might cause a lot of concerns, but the upside is the benefits it will bring to the local community and the economy with new families moving in."
 
Frank Baldwin, a former managing editor of the Kent & Sussex Courier Group, has been appointed editor at large to work on the new title.
 
The group also publishes SO magazine, Savoy – The Magazine for the Savoy London and Gastro magazine for pub and restaurant chain Whiting and Hammond.
 
The move comes amid signs of a recovery for print journalism in recent weeks.
 
New national newspaper The New Day launched on Monday. 
 
Last week the ultralocal publishers behind the Peckham Peculiar launched a new monthly newspaper for Dulwich. And The Voice series in Bristol launched its tenth local edition.
 
The longer term trend however, remains one of decline. Last year paid-for UK local newspaper sales declined by an average of more than 10 per cent. And over the last year big publishers Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press have closed around 20 titles each.
 
Over the last decade around 300 local newspapers have closed in the UK and 100 have launched.
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