An online paywall launched by the UK’s biggest-selling regional daily newspaper last April has been scrapped.
The Midlands News Association had begun charging for selected content on its Wolverhampton-based Express & Star website, including photo galleries, football match analysis and traffic and travel.
A print, online and smartphone package was offered for £2.34 a week, which included delivery of the newspaper as well as access to the paywall-protected parts of the Express & Star 24 website.
However it has now been axed in what appears to be one of the first acts of incoming MNA managing director Phil Inman, who took over from Alan Harris at the start of the new year.
At the time of the paywall launch, the paper’s then deputy editor Keith Harrison said the package was an attempt to add value for readers and increase circulation.
However, readers are now being encouraged to download an iPhone app at a cost of £3.99 a month or £1.49 a week in order to read the digital edition of the paper on their iPhones and iPads.
Mr Inman said: “The 24 premium service has been withdrawn following a review of the MNA’s digital platforms.
“New digital newspaper apps for iPad and iPhone users were launched this week as part of online enhancements planned for 2012.
“The feedback from customers using the new app has been positive. Further projects are in development.”
The Express & Star paywall was latest in what have proved to be a series of short-lived online paywall initiatives by the regional press.
Two years ago, Johnston Press carried out an experiment by launching paywalls on six weekly newspaper websites but it was quietly dropped after a few months.