The UK’s best-selling regional daily newspaper will start requiring a bundled print-and-web subscription for the majority of its website articles.
In the UK, the recent re-awakening of the paid web news phenomenon has been mostly led by nationwide newspapers like News Corp.’s The Times. So this move by the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star of the English Midlands is significant.
In its version, the paper “will continue to publish highlights of the day’s news on the front page of its website, which will remain free-to-view, but other content will be behind the paywall”, says Journalism.co.uk.
Deputy editor Keith Harrison (suggests) the move is intended to boost Express & Star‘s paying print readership, if not its web audience: “We’re not trying to sell this as a standalone, in competition to the hard copy paper. It’s a package to add value and help the overall circulation.” No details of the bundle are yet available, however.
The timing is interesting, because Expressandstar.com’s traffic has grown healthily…
Is it any coincidence that print circulation has been falling in that time… ?
Few local and regional titles, which, in the UK, cover only news from their local patch, operate paid fees. Some Tindle titles charge for digital print replicas. Johnston Press last year trialled a paid web model around six titles but never went ahead with it, following apparently low take-up.
In the U.S., several more metropolitan papers have been going behind the “paywall”.