Glasgow's Herald trumpets success of metered paywall with more subscribers online than in print

Digital subscriptions for the Glasgow based Herald & Times group now outstrip those in print, the publisher has claimed.

The newspaper group began charging for access to the HeraldScotland website in December 2011 with a limit set of 10 free articles per month per user.

Tim Blott, regional managing director at Newsquest, told Press Gazette: “We have 5,500 print subscribers so we have exceeded that online. We are very happy with the progress.”

Blott said some media reports suggested that no regional newspapers in the UK had paywalls, and that he was keen to set the record straight.

“We are pleased to see that our readers are willing to pay for quality journalism. We looked at a range of different solutions, from a strict paywall to free access. We felt the best fit for us was a metered paywall.

“As soon as we introduced our paywall the levels of subscriptions increased.”

According to Blott: “We are trying to supply our readers with quality journalism. Our journalists produce the news and it is up to the editors how that is used and distributed, whether it is online or in print.”

Journalists working in the newsroom can view live statistics about what stories are trending on the HeraldScotland website.

Blott said even when they reduced the number of free articles a non-subscriber could download by 40 percent to six a month in August 2013, the website’s audience continued to grow. 

According to Blott, the website attracted an average of 1.425 million unique viewers per month in the last six months of 2013.

Daily newspaper The Herald had an average circulation of 41,000 in the first six months of 2013 and the Sunday Herald averaged around 25,000.

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