Monday, 22 January 2018

New owner aims to relaunch View From newspaper group which closed in early January

Newspapers covering part of East Devon look set to relaunch


Report by Edward Oldfield for DevonLive.com

New owner Duncan Williams says he is working on plans to relaunch the View From newspaper series which closed in early January.
Mr Williams, a Dorset-based director of a media company with a background in newspapers, confirmed he has bought the titles from previous owner Peter Masters.
He said he clinched the deal last week at a meeting in Plymouth with Mr Masters, chairman of Truro City Football Club who acquired the group following his buyout of the Liskeard-based Sunday Independent newspaper.
The View From series of free newspapers based in Lyme Regis, Dorset, had a combined weekly distribution of 33,000 and published editions covering Axminster, Seaton and Honiton in Devon, Bridport, Dorchester and Weymouth in Dorset, and South Somerset.
It is understood around 20 jobs were lost a result of the closure announced on January 4. Mr Williams, based at Poole in Dorset, is a director of Vibe Marketing, and has a background in Christian publishing and tabloid newspapers.
He said he had been in talks with senior former staff of the View From series, and had also liaised with Dorset-based news publisher Newsquest which was currently recruiting.
Pulmans View From Honiton
Mr Williams told Devon Live a full audit of the business was being carried out. He declined to put a timescale on a relaunch, and added he was looking into the possibility of developing a community shareholding element, following a crowdfunding appeal.
He said the business was being reviewed and would offer a stronger digital element to reach people aged 18-34, who as a group were generally not engaging with newspapers.
He said: "We have got to offer advertisers more, we will upgrade the digital end. We want to re-establish relations with advertisers and offer longer term placements which are going to engage a digital audience in the key age group of 18-34."
On community involvement, Mr Williams said: "I think it is a good idea that the community has a a share in their local newspapers, maybe shares costing £1, which would never be more than 50 per cent of the total.
"That is potentially a very good idea, and something I would like to look into more."
In his initial crowdfunding bid, Mr Williams had aimed to raise £85,000 by March 3 to buy the titles.
The closure statement on January 4 blamed a lack of advertising revenue. A spokesman said in a statement: "It is with great regret that the decision has been taken to close View From Newspapers with immediate effect due to falling advertising revenue and the continued difficult trading climate.
"Thank you to all our loyal readers & advertisers for your support over the past 12 years."
Many readers commented on social media that they were said to see the closure. Jilly Parry said: "Very sad indeed, will miss the View From newspapers immensely. Good luck to you all in whatever your next venture may be, and thank you."