Exaro drops paywall after a year to focus on paid-for data

Investigative journalism website Exaro has scrapped its paywall after just over a year.

Instead the site will ask readers to register in order to receive newsletters, comment on stories or download source documents. It will now focus on paid-for data as its main revenue driver. The site also makes money by selling content to other publishers.

Editor Mark Watts said the paywall plan had always hinged on selling corporate subscriptions, which it had failed to do partly due to a lack of dedicated sales staff.

Exaro’s first subscription data service is the Exaro Insolvency Index which tracks companies going through insolvency.

Exaro launched in November 2011 and employs around 12 journalists at any one time.

The site has secured a number of agenda-setting scoops since it launched including the secretly recored tape of Rupert Murdoch addressing arrested Sun staff and the revelation that a number of civil servants were being paid off the payroll to avoid tax.

Watts said: “Given the high level of public interest in Exaro’s stories, it is terrific to be able to provide readers with free access to our strong investigative journalism.

“And, with our development of data journalism to create editorial content and add-on data services, Exaro is at the cutting-edge of where new media is going.”

This month, The Sun followed its News UK sister titles and move behind a paywall. In April the Telegraph adopted a metered paywall requiring those who read more than 20 articles per month to take out a subscription.

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