Journalist and publisher Regan sold his 48% stake in Excel Publishing, one of the North’s biggest independent publishing companies, earlier this year.
The concept underpinning the company’s publishing objective is that the ‘mother’ operation, the web site Cheshire Today, sits atop the publishing operation from which flows a number of local print titles, of which Macclesfield Today is the first.
Regan is adamant that Cheshire Today, which launched in April this year, now has over 200,000 unique monthly visitors with a record daily peak of just over 50,000 reached on Monday during the transfer deadline frenzy.
Regan said that his plans for the next titles include Wilmslow Today and Knutsford Today which he hopes will be launched in May and September respectively next year. He added that the two titles will have a distribution of circa 8,000 each. And he was adamant that every title they launch will always have an office in that locality – “that is fundamental to our ethos.”
Macclesfield Today will be printed on heavier stock than is normal in regional press with the decision on whether they go with 55 or 60 gsm stock to be made this week. The full colour 48 page paper will be distributed to around 12,000 homes in the Macclesfield area. The distribution list has been compiled from four sources: Google street views, the Land Registry, the electoral register and bought-in post code data.
The new title will face its stiffest competition from the Trinity Mirror-owned paid-for title, the Macclesfield Express, which had a circulation of just over 10,000 according to the latest ABC figures.
Regan said that there are currently eight full time staff, primarily on the content side, with several more retained on a part time basis, mostly sales staff.
What will be different about the new title and series said an unapologetic Regan would be that: “We are creating a paper for ‘clever’ people.
“There will be no cats up f*****g trees coverage in our titles.
“Our arts and fashion coverage will exceed that of the best that the regional press currently produces” before adding “but to be fair, that’s not saying much these days.”
Regan has to date funded the operation from his own means but he is also in discussions with financiers about funding the next phases of the operation.
He said that the early success of the Cheshire Today website has “markedly helped the preparation and indeed the sense of anticipation for our first launch.”
While Regan acknowledges that some will question his commercial belief in print, he believes “the death of print publishing is, to paraphrase Mark Twain, greatly exaggerated.”