The Bendigo Advertiser and the Bendigo Weekly are coming together.
Under an agreement announced in Bendigo on Friday, the owners of the Weekly will merge their free publication into Australian Community Media's paid daily newspaper, the Advertiser.
A combined Domain real estate guide and a new-look weekend edition of the Advertiser incorporating the Weekly will be launched next month.
Co-owner of ACM Antony Catalano described the merger as a "compelling opportunity to secure a sustainable future" for quality local media in Bendigo.
"Bendigo's two most trusted sources of local news and advertising will be much stronger together," Mr Catalano, ACM's executive chairman, said.
The deal would help extend the Bendigo Advertiser's rich 166-year history.
"We are proud to be acting with local players to strengthen local media," Mr Catalano said.
"The result will be a stronger offering for readers, advertisers will have access to the very best platform to promote their goods and services and we build a more sustainable business to be able to continue serving the community.
"This collaborative approach will give us a good product for a long time to come. It's an example of the spirit of collaboration that regional media needs so that we are better positioned to invest and grow even stronger."
As part of the merger, Bendigo Weekly is expected to be retained as a dedicated liftout within the Bendigo Advertiser's Saturday edition.
In a boost for property buyers and sellers across central Victoria, Bendigo Weekly's popular real estate liftout will be combined with the Advertiser's gloss Domain weekend homes guide and inserted in the Advertiser on Fridays and Saturdays.
The combined Domain property liftout will also be available for free online at bendigoadvertiser.com.au, and print copies will be available at selected pick-up points around Bendigo.
The new-look print products will be launched next month.
The free print edition of Bendigo Weekly will no longer be distributed direct to homes. It will be available to read for free at bendigoadvertiser.com.au.
Bendigo Publishing chairman Robert Ketterer paid tribute to Bendigo Weekly staff and loyal advertisers.
The Weekly was consulting with its staff over the changes.
"We're proud of the efforts of the Weekly team and everything we have been able to achieve for our customers, readers, shareholders and the broader community over the past 22 years, and we're confident that success will continue," Mr Ketterer said.
ACM chief executive Allen Williams said planning for the integration of the publications was under way.
"At the completion of the merger, the Bendigo Advertiser, Bendigo Weekly and the combined Domain real estate guide will be well-placed to serve the needs of Bendigo into the future," he said.
Mr Williams said the Bendigo Advertiser's loyal print readers and online audience, including a growing number of digital subscribers, would benefit from the expanded local content.
The Advertiser introduced digital subscriptions in September 2018.
"Print and digital audiences can expect more great reading at the weekend with the Bendigo Weekly's emphasis on essential community news, plus enhanced coverage of the region's real estate market in Domain," Mr Williams said.
The ACM stable of daily mastheads also includes The Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, The Border Mail, The Examiner in Launceston, The Courier in Ballarat and The Standard in Warrnambool.
With more than 160 news brands publishing online and in print, the ACM network stretches into every state and territory and includes such agricultural titles as The Land in NSW, Stock & Land in Victoria and Queensland Country Life.
Mr Catalano, with partner Alex Waislitz and his ASX-listed Thorney Investment Group, took control of the former Fairfax Media regional publishing division on July 1.
They bought it from Nine Entertainment for $115 million following Nine's 2018 merger with Fairfax.