Tindle tries free 'parish pump' titles

Tindle Newspapers is launching 12 monthly “parish pump” style newspapers which the company believes will tap into a lucrative new advertising market.

It will bring the total number of monthlies owned by Tindle to 34 and the family-owned company plans to launch another eight before Christmas.

The new 12 will be in the Tindle heartlands of the South West, Home Counties and Mid-Wales, with titles including the Abergavenny Gazette & Diary, Forest Flyer & Diary and South Hams Diary.

The free titles aim to attract business from advertisers too local for existing regional dailies, paid-for weeklies or even weekly frees.

One of the new papers, the North Cornwall Post & Diary, is a joint venture with Northcliffe Newspapers. The two companies decided to collaborate because its distribution area, Bodmin Moor, lies between competing weekly papers which they both publish.

Tindle has not taken on any new journalists to publish its new monthly titles. They will be produced by staff working on existing weeklies, with additional copy provided by village correspondents.

The fact that the papers are based around Tindle’s existing newspaper infrastructure means the launches have required comparatively little extra investment.

Tindle Newspapers managing director Brian Doel said: “Everybody’s looking at this concept of monthlies – it’s working and producing revenue. It is covering editorial that you didn’t have before, stories that would perhaps have been spiked for being too local and too parish pump before.”

Chairman Sir Ray Tindle said: “Results so far are most encouraging, with no impact on the weeklies in the relevant areas.

“One of the keys to the success is the diary included in the newspapers. There can be no doubt about the future of this type of newspaper within the publishing portfolio or the opportunity that they represent. One of our papers already has a revenue of nearly £50,000 a month.”

Tindle Newspapers has not ruled out further joint ventures with Northcliffe and other newspaper groups for more monthly launches.

Northcliffe chairman Lord Rothermere said: “I look forward to building a long-standing relationship based on the success of the North Cornwall Post & Diary.”

Edwin Boorman, chairman of Kent Messenger Group, said: “We are watching Ray Tindle’s launches with interest. Ray is looking to unlock a new level of advertising revenue not entirely reaching our existing publications at present.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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