Johnston Press to charge for local papers online
Thursday 26 November 2009
Johnston Press, the regional newspaper group, is to begin charging for the online content of some of its local titles, in the latest sign that the industry has shifted heavily in favour of making the internet pay.
It emerged yesterday that Johnston Press is introducing "paywalls" on some of the group's websites from Monday; it will be the first UK regional publisher to experiment with the scheme. Online readers of six titles including the Northumberland Gazette and the Worksop Guardian will pay £5 for a three-month subscription .
The group, run by John Fry, will judge whether the experiment has been a success before it rolls out the scheme across all of its newspapers. An internal memo seen by the website Hold The Front Page, said: "Customers are used to paying for content in paper and we are simply transferring this thinking online."
Johnston Press, which also owns The Scotsman and the Yorkshire Post, said this month that while the slump was easing, advertising revenues in August and September were still down 19 per cent over the previous year.
Newspapers have been searching for alternative ways to boost revenues after suffering a huge collapse in advertising during the downturn. The industry is increasingly looking at charging for its online content as a way to boost earnings.
Earlier this year. the media agency GroupM predicted that advertising revenue at regional newspapers would fall 31.9 per cent this year, a much sharper drop than at the nationals, where it is expected to fall 18.6 per cent. Richard Lambert, the director-general of the CBI, has recently complained that regional titles "are being hammered into the ground" because they can't capitalise on their internet activities.
Kevin Ward, the editor of the Worcester News, believes charging is a viable model for local papers as they provide niche information, such as reporting on local court and council meetings. He said Johnston Press's decision was welcome news, adding: "It's the right way forward."
News Corporation is determined to introduce charges at its titles, including The Times and The Sun, by next spring. James Murdoch, News Corp's chief executive in Europe and Asia, said charging for content would be a "huge shift" for the industry, adding: "I think it's the crucial step in starting to develop a wholesale market in digital journalism".
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits record low as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Germany sees 'visible rise' in support for far-right extremism in response to perceived 'Islamisation' of the West
iJobs Money & Business
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...
£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...