The Lockyer & Somerset Independent was born through a management buyout from NewsCorp in 2020. The company had the challenge to move from an initial booking and layout system made of Excel and Word files to a more robust solution. Cross-advertising, Atex’s flexible advertising booking and planning solution was chosen, allowing the team to work more efficiently and integrate with other systems.

The regional and local newspaper market has been very fluid in many countries in the past few years. The decline in print revenue and the change of business models for many publishers brought several M&As, where regional titles have been seeing new owners, management buyouts, layoffs and relaunches. Lately, new technology and alternative business models for journalism have allowed hyperlocal publishers to emerge.

Several studies – for example, the 2019 Cairncross Review into the state of UK news media – underlined the critical importance of local reporting and public interest news.

Starting an independent publication

Upon the cessation of NewsCorp owned publication The Star in June of 2020, local business owners joined forces to invest in a new, completely independent publication. The Lockyer & Somerset Independent was born.

The Lockyer & Somerset Independent is the leading local newspaper covering the shires of Gatton, Laidley, Esk and the western townships of the Ipswich Council area, the Gatton, Lockyer and Brisbane Valley.

The publication is located in the heart of one of Australia’s wealthiest and most fertile agricultural regions. Read by 64% of residents, the Independent is undoubtedly the primary source of news, sport, property, entertainment and retail information in Gatton and its surrounding communities.

A set of challenges

Starting a weekly newspaper and a monthly real estate guide from the ground up presents many unique challenges, including building all processes, procedures and design.

The bookings and layout system the publisher had in place was essentially Excel spreadsheets and Word documents which, while it sufficed as an interim measure, the time it takes would not have been sustainable in the long term. While it was still unclear precisely what was needed to streamline the booking processes, the company started researching a new solution.

Multichannel booking system

After much research into the company’s options in terms of booking systems, the Atex solution was presented to the management team.

A product demo and a few business conversations made it clear that Cross-advertising would be the right solution for the Independent, offering an end-to-end system, incorporating bookings, layout and design components.

“Graham, Darren & the team were incredibly helpful right from the get-go, so once we had the options put in front of us, it was an easy decision to go with Atex” – commented Kate Jones, Rural Account Manager, The Lockyer & Somerset Independent.

Picture: the first page of the Lockyer and Somerset Independent, including advertising placements booked and planned using Atex Cross-advertising.

Cross Ad has streamlined the booking process and now offers staff a simple to use, easy to track platform for their bookings. Similarly, MPP has also facilitated the layout & initial design process.

“We have no hesitation in recommending Cross-advertising and Atex to any businesses who are looking for great software solutions, delivered by knowledgeable staff who have no hesitation in ‘going the extra mile’ to ensure that you have the right tools to drive your business forward.” – Kate Jones, Rural Account Manager, The Lockyer & Somerset Independent