NEWS Limited this week announced the closure of Perth’s glossy western suburbs freebie, the Perth Weekly, after four years.Sunday Times managing director David Maguire said Perth Weekly had proven “unsustainable in a market with limited vendor-paid real estate advertising”.Starcom senior communications executive Amanda Elias said Perth Weekly appealed to a very niche market.“I think the production was fantastic and it had the potential if applied properly,” Ms Elias said.“There were times when those relationships weren’t maintained properly.”For the local Post newspaper group, the demise of Perth Weekly eliminates one of the biggest advertising rivals.“I think Perth Weekly was a bad idea to start with. It had no real reason for being and that was obvious from the very first issue,” Post editor Bret Christian said.“Also I think Perth Weekly misunderstood the western suburbs.“There was this idea that the western suburbs are an elite Martian race from another planet – not human.“We’ve never felt that and never reflected that.“They certainly chased our advertisers and made no secret of it. They subsidised ads to go and publish with them and they were being funded by the most powerful media organisation in the world.“They’ve clearly made a business decision based on their costs.”But not everyone is happy to see Perth Weekly go.Marketforce group managing director John Driscoll said he was disappointed to see Perth Weekly disappear and suggested News Limited be congratulated on what it had put into the publication.“The market is very tough. There’s no question of that and in a tough market the smaller the oper-ation the harder they’re hit.“I’ve been a regular reader of Perth Weekly and my impression was that they were doing reasonably well on advertising content.“And they’ve done well in real estate but in any publication you have to weigh up the costs of producing it.“I think the market is crowded … the Post demonstrates you can make a publication work in the western suburbs.”The Melbourne Weekly, a publication the Perth Weekly was modelled on, has managed to find a firmer foothold in the Melbourne market in spite of fierce competition from a new rival publication called the Melbourne Property Guide.Melbourne Weekly editor Neil Spark said that, while the market was extremely competitive, the magazine was continuing to expand every month.“At the moment we are doing the biggest magazine we’ve ever done,” Mr Spark said.
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