Glasgow's Herald trumpets regional press paywall success with 10,000 subscribers

The Herald in Glasgow claims to have surpassed the 10,000 mark for online subscribers three years after launching its metered paywall.

The Newsquest-owned title today said its overall paid-for readership had increased in the year to June 2014, attributing this success to the “digital only” and “combination digital and print” packages on offer.

In January the Herald and Times Group revealed that it had more digital subscribers than print subscribers, number around 5,500, for the first time.

Heraldscotland.com saw its total unique monthly visitors number increase by 50 per cent to nearly 2m year on year in June, while sister title the Eveningtimes.co.uk – which does not have registration or subscription – number rose by 80 per cent to more than 700,000.

The Herald and Times Group introduced digital subscriptions in December 2011. It reports today that there was a more than 125 per cent growth in online subscriptions in the year to June, with the rate of increase growing in the last quarter.

Heraldscotland.com allows readers to access three full articles without registering and then another three after registering without payment. At launch, users were allowed to read ten stories without paying a fee.

Subscribers pay £1 for the first month's access and then £2.99 after that for web-only access or £5.99 a month for web, mobile and tablet use. Print subscribers also get digital access included.

"Our early decision to charge for digital content proves that readers are still very much willing to pay for quality journalism and our digital products continue to go from strength to strength in terms of paying readership, audience and advertising revenue growth,” Herald & Times group managing director Tim Blott said.

 "Our decision to charge for digital content was considered brave two and half years ago, but it’s flattering to see that most other regional newspaper groups are now following our lead. There have been reports elsewhere that trends in digital access are slowing, but that’s certainly not our experience.

“I’ve repeatedly said that we’ll continue to produce a print product for as long as people want it but readership access figures speak for themselves and from this, we see nothing but opportunity.

“I could never have hoped to sell two million copies of our print versions but digitally, if we continue to deliver quality journalism to a worldwide audience, the potential reach and influence of heraldscotland.com is greater than ever before.” 

Editor of The Herald, Magnus Llewellin, said: “The whole news industry continues to face challenges in capitalising on this growing digital influence, but our first priority is to maintain a quality and appealing product for which people will willingly pay.

“So far, heraldscotland.com remains well ahead of the curve and we continue to grow in confidence alongside our influence in a rapidly evolving landscape.”    

The Herald had an average circulation (Monday to Saturday) of 39,000 in 2013. The print edition is priced £1.20 and £1.60.

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