The latest addition to a growing list of hyper-local media in Scotland sees two community magazines being pushed through the letterboxes of homes in the Bearsden and Milngavie districts of Glasgow.
This time, the magazines – which are full colour, glossy, monthly and free – are being produced by a former assistant managing director of the Birmingham Post and Mail newspaper and a former marketing director of the Daily Record.
Nicola Young and Kirsten Morrison are the pair behind Community Soup (Bearsden) and Community Soup (Milngavie), keeping a watchful eye on whether their business model can be applied to other communities in Scotland.
Some 85 per cent of homes in each district will be receiving one of the magazines over the next few days: 12,000 homes in Bearsden, and 6000 in Milngavie. Editorial will be different in both titles, but advertising will be shared. Says Young: “Although we are free, we want to offer the quality of a paid-for. Unlike other frees, our advertising content will never go above 60 per cent of the magazine.” Editorial includes news, what’s on, eating out, arts and entertainment, plus health and beauty.
The launch Bearsden issue carried the exclusive news that the West of Scotland rugby club is at risk of going out of business unless it can move to allow a housing development take place at its current home. In the Milngavie issue, there was again an exclusive: the launch of the Milngavie Arts Festival, with BBC Scotland presenter, Sally Magnusson, a supporter.
“We have been thinking about this for a couple of years and looking at American models of how it might work in Scotland,” says Young. “Since the turn of the year, and especially since the summer, we’ve been working hard to make it a reality. It wasn’t right a couple of years ago for hyper-local in Scotland, but we believe it is now.
“The average readership of mainstream newspapers is getting older. Also, larger regional newspaper groups not investing back into their local markets, particularly over the last ten years, means information gaps have opened up in smaller local markets.”
Added Morrison: “Already the response from the community has been extremely positive, with contributions from clubs, schools, community police and local businesses. The magazines are about supporting local communities and giving them a place to voice their opinions.”
Recently, Southside Media has launched newspapers for the G41 and 42 districts of Glasgow, while Scotsman newspaper publishers, Johnston Press, has produced newspapers for small clusters of districts in Edinburgh.
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