Stuff pitches for bigger regional patch after rival expands

Jun 19, 2024 at 11:51 am by admin

New Zealand publisher Stuff says it is “responding to regional growth” with a new title and expanded reach of the key area between two parts of the North Island now dominated by rival NZME.

The company is expanding the reach of its free papers in the Waikato region, between Auckland – from which daily rival the NZ Herald is published – and Gisborne, where NZME took full control of the local Gisborne Herald earlier this year.

The Waikato Local Te Pūtahi launches next month with free distribution across an expanded Waikato region including Te Aroha and Tirau. It will replace the Hamilton Press, and absorb the Piako Post, Matamata Chronicle, South Waikato News and Hamilton Press titles.

The privately-owned publisher publishes the daily Waikato Times and last year launched a subscription-based website for it, separate from the Stuff news site, as well as for its dailies in Wellington and Christchurch. Since then, Stuff says the Times’ reach has more than doubled with new subscribers opting for digital-only or print-and-digital bundles.

The Waikato Local free community title “will build on that reach, ensuring Stuff continues to have the biggest print and digital footprint of any media company in the Waikato”.

Stuff brand connections managing director Matt Headland said Hamilton was New Zealand’s fastest-growing city, with regional areas including Matamata, Te Aroha and Morrinsville driving very strong rural and real estate audiences.

“Having a free newspaper delivered into homes and stores, combined with the growing digital subscriber numbers of the Waikato Times, will provide unrivalled reach and prominence.”

Masthead publishing managing director Joanna Norris said consolidation of some smaller titles into a region-wide community newspaper was part of Stuff Group’s review of its large number of community newspapers “across the motu”, as some Kiwis call the country.

She said the former Fairfax Media business had acquired a number of community titles over time “resulting in a network that does not always fit local business and community needs”.

Included on the new masthead is the Waikato Local’s te reo name, Te Pūtahi, “which broadly translates as intersection, centre or meeting place of ideas”, she said. Its distribution footprint includes regional and rural hubs including Morrinsville (pictured), Matamata, Putararu, Wharahoa, Te Aroha and Tirau.

Stuff also publishes the Franklin County News and Cambridge Edition in the region and national title NZFarmer.

Sections: Newsmedia industry


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