Tindle boosts revenue with e-edition paywalls

Tindle Newspapers has created digital versions of more than 100 of its weekly newspapers as part of a drive to create revenue from online subscriptions.

The move follows the publisher running a successful three month pilot project which saw e-editions of six weekly papers, including paid-for titles South London Press and Tavistock Times, launched in July.

Brian Doel, managing director of Tindle Newspapers, told Press Gazette the success of the pilot encouraged the publisher to create e-editions for nearly half of its newspapers in September, including the majority of the publisher’s paid-for titles, and plan for digital versions of the remainder of its titles.

Regional publisher Johnston Press has embarked on a similar trial, while News Corporation chairman and cheif executive Rupert Murdoch is planning to put all online content from his newspapers, including the Times and the Sun, behind a paywall.

Doel said: “This is a group-wide model and we already have 100 of our papers up and running. We will be adding more to that so that eventually we hope to have all 230 titles, including all our paid-for papers, online.”

He said the company already had 63 of its 70 paid-for titles as digital editions.

The Tavistock Times, which has a print circulation of around 8,000, had taken 150 subscribers for a digital edition of the paper in its first week, Doel said.

Almost 1,000 subscribers now paid the cover price, either through Paypal or via credit card, to be sent an electronic version each week, he added.

Doel said: “We expected our paid-for digital editions only to have a few subscriptions from ex-pats, but what we got was hundreds of subscribers locally who preferred to have this than to go out and buy the papers.”

The publisher uses technology provided by PageSuite that allows subscribers to access each weekly newspaper via a web browser along with an archive of older copies of each paper. The system has proved so successful, the publishing group said, cash created from subscriptions quickly exceeded expectations and the Paypal facility had to be increased.

The system works as Tindle does not otherwise place all its editorial content on its websites, choosing to fill its few web platforms with “teaser” stories to encourage readers to buy either the print or e-edition of the paper.

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