Neighbourhood Media brings free, hyper-local magazines to Sydney’s suburbs

Neighbourhood Media has launched, producing quarterly, hyper-local print magazines, free for the Sydney locals living in each edition’s postcode.

The venture began in July with a St Ives (postcode 2075) edition, followed by Lane Cove in mid-August, and Turramurra and Newtown this month.

Each suburb’s magazine features content specific to the community such as profiles of local business owners, and content contributions from the community. The 2074 Turramurra edition, released this week, features the local Ku-ring-gai Rural Fire Service team on the front cover.

July’s St Ives edition, which had 10 advertising partners, included a ‘walk through’ the suburb’s history with a local, a ‘pets of St Ives’ page, a business directory, and a feature on a local 17-year-old photographer, whose picture of the Milky Way appeared on the cover.

The first Neighbourhood Media magazine: St Ives in July

Neighbourhood Media is currently a team of three, with the free magazines advertiser-funded.

“We’re finding a lot of businesses in this environment are reaching out to and relying more on business from their ‘Neighbours’ so we’re really helping form that connection,” said director of content Georgina Pengelly.

Pengelly, who has worked advertising sales roles at The Brag, The Music, and Pedestrian, added that “now more than ever, it’s important to be supporting and engaging with your local community, especially for the more vulnerable members”.

The Lane Cove issue

One local business told Neighbourhood Media that advertising in the magazines has led to an “uptick in referrals”.

“It has definitely increased our profile in St Ives – I was recognised by the butcher this morning,” the speech pathology business owner said.

The rest of the year includes editions for Surry Hills, Glebe, and Bondi, along with second issues for St Ives, Lane Cove, Turramurra, and Newtown.

Earlier this month, Australian Community Media launched a new print magazine for Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and this week announced plans for another print and digital title covering New South Wales’ Northern Rivers region. However, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on an already challenged magazine sector.

Bauer’s rocky takeover of Pacific Magazines, followed by the magazine company’s acquisition by Mercury Capital, culminated in the shuttering of eight print titles and more than 150 redundancies in total.

The most recent Standard Media Index figures, tracking ad spend in July, showed the magazine market was back by almost 60% for the month.

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