APN joins the hunt for rural readers, launches The Land across the land

The rural sector has helped keep New Zealand afloat over the past few fairly difficult years and, as the amount of spending done at Fieldays shows, it’s a sector with a fair bit of confidence (and cash) at the moment. And, in an effort to better reach that sector, APN NZ has launched The Land, a new weekly rural publication sandwiched between the pages of APN’s six regional newspapers that are read across the North Island by town and country dwellers alike.

The Thursday lift-out comes with The Northern Advocate, Bay of Plenty Times, The Daily Post, Hawkes Bay Today, Wanganui Chronicle, Wairarapa Times-Age, and ​the Te Awamutu Courier and focuses on “everything that is important to the economies and lifestyles of New Zealand’s rural communities”.

“The Land is APN’s single voice to our rural communities … it concentrates on the north island regional districts and complements the daily newspaper,” says Chris Jagusch, group general manager of regionals at APN. “But I think the land is pitched not only at farmer and lifestyle-block owner but also at the families, retirees, scientists and the farm suppliers etc who live in the cities.”

Each region’s version includes local farming news and features, written by local rural journos, but also nationally relevant features, insights and market data across all regions.

“Our top journalists have strong interests in rural issues and will be available across all the publications,” says Jagusch.

Agrifax, a provider of independent information for New Zealand’s key agricultural sectors, is providing weekly export trends, latest commodity prices, exchange rates and a pasture growth index. Business news writer Fran O’Sullivan and Newstalk ZB’s Farming Show host Dominic George have weekly columns, and will cover “issues ranging from the economy, livestock and sustainable farming, through to B&Bs and eco-tourism”. Despite the myths, farmers are digitally savvy, as this study from King St shows, so all editorial content also goes online and features across all APN regional websites as part of the nzherald.co.nz network (unlike its sustainability focused Element magazine, the rural content doesn’t appear to be housed in a central hub). 

The Land’s entire audience is 242,000 across the North Island, which APN claims will open up opportunities for advertisers.

This launch follows hot on the heels of Fairfax relaunching Straight Furrow as NZ Farmer in May this year to 85,000 homes free of charge. NZ Farmer was first launched as an online version in April 2013, and according to Fairfax became the nation’s “leading farming industry website”. BrandWorld also recently launched a new masthead called Field Trials in an effort to promote rural wares. 

When asked whether launching The Land was in reaction to Fairfax launching NZ Farmer’s print version, Jagusch says: “No, it’s something that we felt we wanted to do for readers for some time.”

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