Gloucestershire journalists launch local online ents magazine

Two journalists from Gloucestershire have launched a local online lifestyle and entertainment magazine for the county.

Soft-launched six weeks ago following a year of market research and development work, promises users in the region a “definitive guide on what to do with their free time”.

“It’s a very new concept for the regions, but it’s something that’s been done before in London,” said deputy editor James Fryer, who is running the site together with editor Michelle Byrne.

“We modelled it on websites like ViewLondon and Time Out London,” he said.

Both journalists draw on their experience with entertainment magazines in the Middle East. Byrne worked on Time Out Dubai and Fryer worked at the UAE’s What’s On magazine.

“We’ve been working and studying abroad for about eight years, came back and wanted to find a publication to work for. But there was nothing about so we decided to start our own. It’s a very good area in terms of arts and ents, but nobody was doing a very good job of showing that, especially with the decline of print publications and younger audiences which are not reading newspapers.”

In addition to featuring a handful of freelance contributors, the site is encouraging its users to leave comments, participate in forums and write reviews of restaurants and entertainment venues.

Young people, in particular, would not be waiting for listings or reviews in printed publications, he said.

‘Online is where it’s at for people getting arts and ents information when they’re going out. If you had been going to the Royal International Air Tattoo this weekend, you’d go online and type it into a search box. You don’t look to the local newspaper or magazine for that. You want instant information and you want it to be there for you.” is working on adding blogs and podcasts, and is planning mobile and Google Maps-based mapping applications. The editors are working with a local web development firm, which created their bespoke content management system.

‘We’re not governed by a big publishing company that has to roll something out nationally, which can take months. Because we’re a relatively small and dynamic team we can react quickly,’said Fryer.

The self-financed site is already generating revenue through three affiliate advertising schemes but plans to increase the amount of advertising from local businesses as well.

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