Two North West dailies are spearheading the latest experiment in paid-for online content by launching new subscription-only e-editions of their titles.
The Bolton News and Lancashire Telegraph, both owned by Newsquest, are currently advertising electronic versions of the paper costing 10p a copy – compared to the 40p cover price for the print versions.
The papers are marketing the move as a chance for readers to get the news earlier and save money at the same time.
“Our Bolton News E-edition will not only be available hours before it hits the news stands, making you first with the best local news, sport and classifieds, but you’ll also be able to make substantial savings,” reads an advert on the paper’s website.
The e-editions will use the ‘page-turning’ software run by PageSuite which is becoming increasingly popular with many local press companies now using it.
PageSuite versions of weeklies the Bolton Journal and Prestwich and Whitefield Guide are already available on theboltonnews.co.uk while Asian Image and The Citizen are similarly uploaded to lancashiretelegraph.co.uk.
PageSuite said that Newsquest’s South London-based News Shopper Series also recently launched an online version of its paper, although this is a free service, while Glasgow based daily The Herald already offers a subscription-based e-edition using page turning software.
Other Newsquest dailies have trialled hosting subscription-only PDF versions of the papers online but HTFP understands these have now been discontinued.
Neither PageSuite nor Newsquest had responded to requests for further information at the time of publication.
The Englishman (02/03/2010 09:14:08)
Interesting marketing strategy – don’t buy our product which costs more – buy this one which comes out first and is cheaper.
JustifiedPessamism (02/03/2010 10:02:09)
Agreed Englishman. I have a certain admiration for News and Telegraph for giving this a try, but surely its only going to further affect sales of the printed product?
Snowatlast (02/03/2010 10:44:26)
News Shopper has had an online Page Suite edition for well over two years.
Scoop (02/03/2010 10:52:01)
Mike Atherton summed it up in an article about the IPL recently. He likened the IPL to newspaper bosses, who didn’t know how or why, but were convinced there was a pot of gold at the end of the internet rainbow, yet they are finding out it isn’t so. Regardless of the rights and wrongs of this for print media, people DO NOT pay for online content. You can’t change people’s habits now. If the one paper I read – the Times – charged for online content, it could go to hell. I’d buy it when I could be bothered or find alternative ways of accessing the information. Again, this is another example of dyed in the wool newspaper people proving they are dinosaurs in the digital age.
Ajinexile (02/03/2010 11:31:44)
I edited a publication that tried page-turning software for a few months. It had a novelty appeal for an issue or two, but readers soon threw in the towel.Our audits showed that after one or two issues, readers only turned half the pages, or less. Not that the content was not interesting — just that you cannot graft the printed feel to an on-line page-turning and retain readers: young or old. As for getting readers to pay for an on-line paper, only the WSJ and FT could get away with that. Let me rephrase that: you can charge, but you will lose readers by the drove: the approach is not a pot of gold, it’s a bucket of cow poo.
Himeda (02/03/2010 13:28:01)
For once I have to agree with Murdoch that ALL newspapers should have paid-for online versions. People are decreasing buying newspapers because you can get the same news more quickly and for free online. Online advertising hasn’t proved to be the cash cow it was once thought. It may sound harsh on readers but to stop the endless cuts and decrease in quality of journalism we all need to follow the above examples.