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Archant closes edition of free weekly newspaper less than three years after relaunch as it 'no longer makes financial sense'

Archant has closed a free weekly newspaper edition two-and-a-half years after it was relaunched, saying it “no longer makes financial sense”.

The final Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton edition of the Comet in Bedfordshire was published yesterday.

It was relaunched after an eight-year break in May 2016 and has a distribution of 9,315, according to full-year ABC figures for 2017.

In a front-page story, also published online, Comet editor Nick Gill said he thought the last 31 months had been a success after building relationships with schools, businesses, councillors and readers.

He wrote: “I am extremely proud of what we have been able to achieve in what admittedly is tough times for journalism, where demands are great and time is short.

“So, with all this in mind, why are we closing this edition? Put simply, it no longer makes financial sense.

“While my job is focused on producing the best journalism we can, the Comet and publisher Archant is a business – and one that needs to balance the books.

“When the sums don’t add up, you no longer have a viable business – and that, in a nutshell, is why the Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton edition can’t continue.”

Gill added: “What is clear is for the media industry to be successful we need businesses – local and national – to support us, to invest in us.

“I have no doubt that those relationships – both editorially and commercially – can be mutually beneficial, but regrettably in this instance we were not able to find a sustainable solution.”

None of the Comet’s three other editions – the Hitchin Comet, Letchworth GC and Baldock Comet, or Stevenage Comet – are at risk of closure, Gill added. These editions, also free, all have higher distributions.

Rival regional publisher Reach is also closing a free title today after deciding the door-to-door distribution model is “no longer sustainable”.

It attributed the struggle, which led to the closure of the Solihull News, to a “continued decline in local print advertising, particularly in the key property platform”.

Comments

1 thought on “Archant closes edition of free weekly newspaper less than three years after relaunch as it 'no longer makes financial sense'”

  1. I’m not surprised it’s closing if its other issues had front pages this boring. Yet another triumph for the Archant weeklies production team, which churns out consistently dull offerings, but, hey, who needs proper design subs any more?

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