The Bromley Times turns free after sales slump

By Sarah Lagan

One of the oldest paid-for titles in south east London The Bromley Times is the latest Archant London title to convert from a paid-for to a free following a 21 per cent drop in circulation in the last set of ABCs.

It will replace the existing free paper in the area The Bromley Express but there will be no redundancies as a result of the closure. The Times has also had a radical upmarket relaunch.

Many London paid-for newspapers have been struggling in terms of circulation and Archant London managing director Enzo Testa’s plan since joining the division has been to turn some of the worst hit titles in to a mix of paid-fors and frees to reach a wider audience.

The Bromley Times’ circulation was down to 2,466 and the paper will now go out to 80,000 homes across the circulation area including Beckenham, Chislehurst, Orpington and Biggin Hill. The population of Bromley is 296,000.

Testa told Press Gazette: “We are not reaching the market and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. There’s no point in my guys doing a fantastic job and then a few thousand people buy the paper. That particular market place has changed and the existing titles are predominantly free. This way we reach more people and saturate the Bromley market and also have it available for paid-for.”

The weekly paper, which first hit the streets at the end of the 19th century, has also had a full relaunch and will still be available as a paid-for priced 50p.

As part of the relaunch there will be more news, business, snippets about travel in the city for commuters, as well as a sports section covering local teams as well as top London clubs such as Crystal Palace and Millwall. The arts and entertainments magazine Times Out also has a new look. The editorial tone has also changed with the intention of attracting a more upmarket readership.

Kentish Times Newspapers’ group editor, Melody Ryall, said: “We want the Bromley Times to be more issue led with more comment, opinions and an expanded the letters pages. We still have 14 or 15 pages of hard news at the front dispersed with the odd column in between.”

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