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Newsquest launches metered paywall across all daily newspaper websites

Newsquest has introduced a digital subscription model across all of its daily newspaper websites, putting up a paywall to readers, but will keep all coronavirus and breaking news stories free to read.

After seeing “encouraging results” with metered paywalls on a small number of sites, including the Northern Echo and Herald, in recent years, the regional publisher has rolled the model out to a further 20 titles.

They encompass all of its daily regionals, such as the Brighton Argus and Oxford Mail, as well as weeklies the Hereford Times, News Shopper, Watford Observer, Warrington Guardian and Bucks Free Press.

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Readers will be given the option to pay £4.99 per month or £52 per year for unlimited access to articles, with up to 80 per cent less adverts and the ability to leave comments and sign up to email newsletters.

They are also told the subscription will “help fund the vital, trusted local coverage that we provide and our communities need”.

Newsquest editorial development director Toby Granville said: “We continue to believe that the online local news model will be predominantly a free to access one for the foreseeable future.

“However, we have been running digital subscriptions across a number of our sites for some time with encouraging results, and we will now be extending this approach to 20 more large sites.”

Granville added that non-subscribers will be asked to register with their email address after reading 20 articles per month, and to subscribe after reaching 40 articles.

He said this would mean Newsquest’s local news websites “remain the number one trusted community hub — typically read by more than 70 per cent of the local population — whilst also developing new revenues and new opportunities from data”.

Newsquest’s new digital subscriptions are being launched as part of its We’re There With You — Please Be There With Us scheme, which is also offering free home deliveries of its newspapers for six weeks.

The scheme has been launched as Newsquest faces a decline in both advertising revenues and sales figures due to the coronavirus pandemic – a picture seen across the wider news industry.

Press Gazette analysis shows that more than 500 publications – mainly local and regional newspapers – have made, or face cuts due to Covid-19.

Soon after the UK coronavirus lockdown began, Archant began asking readers for donations, saying the current crisis has made the situation “exceptionally acute”, but that it is a “long-term issue that must be solved if local journalism is to thrive”.

Reach launched its first micro-paywall experiment on the Huddersfield Examiner website last year but ended it after five months, deciding the area was “no longer the right spot to continue the casual payment experiment as we expand our local coverage in the region”.

The publisher said it planned to try out the model on more of its sites this year.

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Comments

3 thoughts on “Newsquest launches metered paywall across all daily newspaper websites”

  1. The time to bring in pay to view was twenty years ago when the concept of buying local news was acceptable, times have changed and now the public get more than enough world, National and even hyper local news free- it’s become the new norm and is expected, they simply will not pay to read online regional websites. Expecting a public in uncertain times to pay anything let alone £52 per year shows lack of awareness of the reality of the situation.
    Using the pandemic as the reason for this move is embarrassing, copy sales and ad revenues have been falling for years and the sales people cannot monetise the online number.
    All that will happen after the initial spike of curious subscribers will be a lessening of interest and a fall away in site traffic.reduced numbers will make it harder for the ad reps to sell ads against and ad blockers will do the rest.
    The time for paywalls has gone, people will not pay in anywhere like the numbers needed to sustain the business so even more front line cuts will be needed.
    It’s been proven time and again despite bluff and bluster about its magnificence and the ‘quality of its content ‘ Paywalls simply DO NOT WORK

  2. These clowns don’t seem to understand that Chrome has an ad blocker by default since July last year, and is based on industry standards of acceptable quality requirements. Chrome is made by a little company called Google, you may have heard of them.. If Newsquest think it doesn’t apply to them, that’s their problem, chrome has 68% market share, so they have just lost 70% of their readership because they are too stupid to apply acceptable ad standards to their sites.

    Even ad blockers have an acceptable ad policy.
    No autoplaying videos, no scrolling banners, and no intrusive expanding content. This is because it grinds the browsing process to a halt on machines that run on battery, as well as consumes huge amounts of power, limiting the life of the device. Unacceptable adverts will literally shorten the life of your machine.

    How long before they go moaning for government bailouts under the campaign banner of “independent journalism is too important to lose”?
    Perhaps they should consider the slogan “Stupid Boomer journalists lose their jobs due to inability to understand the internet”.
    Just to remind the stupid boomers who clearly have no clue about the modern world, here’s a list of unacceptable ads that chrome users will never even be aware of as Chrome blocks them by default:
    Autoplaying inline video ads with sound
    Prestitial ads with countdowns
    Popup ad with countdown
    Pop up ad without countdown
    Prestitial large ad with three-second countdown
    Prestitial ad with three-second countdown
    Autoplaying video ad with sound that’s hard to pause
    Sticky 970×250 ad that overlays content on the bottom of the screen
    Sticky 580×400 ad that overlays content on the bottom of the screen.
    If Newsquest are incapable of following those standards, they ought think about delisting themselves from Google, they can’t have it both ways. Perhaps consider moving developers to a company not populated by boomers. If not, they should consider sticking to printing yesterday’s news on dead trees and remove their reliance upon a web presence, as they certainly aren’t the FT or Telegraph.

    If they think people are going to fork out £52 a year to read their drivel, especially under current conditions, and still serving adverts to said subscribers anyway, they are deluded.

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