Weekly Rag hopes to strike oil

A new weekly newspaper is to target Britain’s biggest captive audience, with the possible exception of HM Prisons.

Oily Rag is to be flown out to oil rigs, platforms, supply vessels and installations throughout the British oil industry. According to owners, Oilworkers.com, it has a target audience of about 380,000 oil workers.

Manchester-based contract publisher Sparker Media is behind the project in a joint venture with recruitment company Oil Workers.

The two companies launched an oil industry website in June which had received 2.5 million hits within two months. Last month it carried more than 500 job adverts.

Sparker Media chairman Stuart Parker said: “We realised there was no publication at all going out to the rigs, apart from something like Oil Engineer which is really a business-to-business title. Oily Rag will be a zany, redtoptype read. It will be mainly featureled – because of the problems we may have in distributing it we can’t do anything too newsy.”

Parker said he had taken on a “major Fleet Street name” as associate editor but declined to reveal their identity.

For the first three months the A3glossy publication will be monthly, going up to fortnightly in February and then weekly. The initial print run will be at least 100,000.

Parker said that most of the copy would be bought in from freelances initially, although staff writers may be taken on in the future.

He said: “The guys on the rigs earn an average of £45,000 a year, work three weeks on three weeks off and spend a lot of money on property, golf and fishing.

“It’s an FHM-type readership but specific to the oil industry. It will be very well received because they hardly get any papers out on the rigs.”

 

By Dominic Ponsford

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