The Observer Media Group Inc. has entered a partnership with the Tampa Bay Times to combine their respective weekly newspapers in Plant City into a new weekly — The Plant City Times & Observer.
The free weekly newspaper, which will debut in August, will offer local news and advertising to its readers in east Hillsborough County. With a circulation of 15,000 copies each week, the paper will be available in racks and through home delivery. The paper will publish weekly, as a free-standing paper and as a section of the Tampa Bay Times in the Plant City area.
A year ago, Observer Media Group formed a new company, the Plant City Observer LLC, with three Plant City businessmen, Ed Verner, Nate Kilton and Felix Haynes, to begin publishing the Plant City Observer. A week prior to its launch, the Tampa Bay Times also began publishing a weekly — the Plant City Times.
But, rather than continue serving the 34,000-population market with four newspapers, including the Tampa Tribune and the Tribune-owned Plant City Courier, the owners of the Plant City Observer and the Times Publishing Co. decided to join forces.
“This new partnership is going to be great for everyone – our readers, our advertisers, the Plant City community and our two companies,” said Matt Walsh, CEO of Observer Media Group. “Combining our respective strengths will allow us to publish for Plant City the best daily newspaper in Florida and a one of the best community weeklies in Florida.”
The Plant City Observer staff will handle the Times & Observer’s news-editorial; the Times will handle advertising, printing and distribution.
“This partnership will allow us to give Plant City residents an even more robust weekly newspaper,” said Bruce Faulmann, vice president of sales and marketing at the Tampa Bay Times. “And we couldn’t be more pleased to team up with the local ownership group in Plant City and the Observer Media Group in Sarasota. They have done a great job with the Plant City Observer.”