Community Group pitches new paper

PERTH Weekly devotees will be relieved to read that Community News Group is launching a new publication developed expressly for the Western Suburbs market.

Aptly titled the Western Suburbs Weekly, a revamp of the News Chronicle, the weekly suburban newspaper is poised to capitalise on the advertising dollars previously spent with Perth Weekly.

“It’ll be launched in the next four to six weeks but I want to stress it’s not in competition with the Post,” Community Newspapers editor-in-chief Iain Cameron said.

“The Post is a very successful publication and this is not in competition because it’s going to be different.

“Perth Weekly showed that there is a market for feature material.

“It will have a mix of news, fashion and real estate.”

Mr Cameron was unwilling to discuss any of the financial details of the new publication, or the level of investment committed by the group to take the Western Suburbs Weekly to the marketplace.

However, he was able to confirm that Community News would be taking on new staff to produce the newspaper, which will include a lot of colour.

“We’re keeping our options open and things are happening on a day-to-day basis,” Mr Cameron said.

“I think it’s great when newspapers are looking to expand rather than contract.”

Perth Weekly shut its doors at the beginning of November last year.

At the time of its closure, Sunday Times managing director David Maguire claimed the Perth Weekly was “unsustainable in a market with limited vendor–paid real estate advertising”.

Mr Cameron said there had been a lot of advertising interest in the new publication although it hadn’t been officially pitched to advertising agencies as yet.

However, the niche nature of the Perth Weekly, coupled with high production costs and serious competition from the Post were raised as possible factors in the demise of the publication.

Post Newspapers editor Bret Christian remains unconvinced that the absence of Perth Weekly has left a hole in the market.

“This alleged space has actually never existed. Perth Weekly was a completely artificial contrivance,” Mr Christian said.

“It was heavily subsidised by the biggest media magnate in the world and even he couldn’t make a go of it. I’ve heard he spent more than $10 million over the four years.”

Mr Christian concedes that the social pages appealed to some readers, however he maintains that successful publications are driven by strong editorial.

“Community started a newspaper here 14 years ago and they’ve got abysmal readership figures,” Mr Christian said. “It’s a free country and people are entitled to throw their money away.”

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