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Weekly puts most content behind paywall in new website launch

Susan WindramA weekly newspaper has launched a new website with the ‘vast majority’ of news content put behind a paywall.

The Oban Times, owned by Wyvex Media, has announced the change, which will see readers asked to pay a weekly subscription of 79p to access most of its stories.

Subscribers to the site, which is fully mobile and tablet responsive, will also be given access to an e-edition of  the Times every Thursday.

Most stories will be behind the new paywall, although exceptions will be made for breaking news already in the public domain

Keith McIntyre, group operations director, said: “Wyvex Media made a conscious decision not to give away our content free of charge, as a result our circulation decline has been slower than the industry norm.

“We recognise however the need to offer the people of the West Highlands a choice as to how they consume their news, so we decided to completely overhaul our site, but more importantly, to continue to value our journalists and content by introducing a paywall.”

The site has been completely rebuilt, and previously only put up a few stories each week with an introductory paragraph followed by a request to buy the newspaper for the full story.

Oban paywall

As well as the weekly suscription, an annual subscription of £28.99, which works out at around 56p per week, is also available together with monthly and half-yearly models.

The website launch is being supported by an extensive social media marketing campaign based on the hashtag #OT7DAYS, as well as in-paper and radio campaigns.

Editor Susan Widram, pictured above left, said: “I received a total buy-in from my team because we are not going to give away content for free – readers need to subscribe to read the story.

“Of course we will have stories which are not behind the paywall such as breaking news, traffic news and weather disruption and whilst the whole process has been a lot of hard work, we believe it will be more than worth it.”

7 comments

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  • February 23, 2017 at 8:59 am
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    I fear the paywall will fail, like every other attempt be the local and regional press. If even the Sun failed, what chance has the Oban Times? They will be lucky to get 50 willing to pay.

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  • February 23, 2017 at 9:55 am
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    The Oban Times is unlike The Sun and virtually every other newspaper in that they have never given their content away for free. In addition the news that the Sun delivers is pretty ubiquitous and available free almost everywhere online. The kind of hyperlocal news covered by the Oban Times is only available in the paper. The paywall might not work, but surely it is worth a go before giving your hard earned content away for free

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  • February 23, 2017 at 10:06 am
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    Think you’re missing the point – unlike The Sun, as they’re local, presumably you can’t find their news stories on any number of free sites out there. They’re local and therefore their stories should be unique to a degree. If they do only get 50 would that be such a failure if they’re protecting circulation? – seems to have worked for them so far. A bold move and good luck to them. Other locals should consider and not seek out the holy grail/fail of the emperor’s new clothes.

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  • February 23, 2017 at 10:30 am
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    Surely worth a crack? Papers cannot go on competing with themselves by giving away their best stories online, then asking people to pay for a paper with same stories. Free papers are part of the answer, especially when some weeklies that once sold 15,000 a week now struggle to reach 3,000. Hardly worth collecting the cover price.

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  • February 23, 2017 at 5:23 pm
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    The national paywalls don’t work because ‘national news’ is available free all over the web.
    Unfortunately, there’s a new thorn in the side of the local press. They no longer are the only people to have all the local news – Facebook is, sadly, doing a pretty decent job on that front. Perhaps not as good as the Oban Times, but it’s certainly the go-to source of local news in many a JP patch.
    Good luck Oban, I really hope it works. You might need to be flexible on the price, but, as I say, good luck.

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  • February 24, 2017 at 11:58 am
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    VOR
    correct but more so Twitter where you can click ‘follow’ and be given the news soon as it’s uploaded direct to your phone , laptop or Pc even a notification thst it’s there, well ahead of the printed paper version by which time it’s old news and the poor saps are paying to get it.
    Today’s hyper fast digital free news services such as Twitter and Facebook have made parochial printed newspapers obsolete, and once the ‘traditional and habitual buyer stops paying, the market will be wholly gone
    Looking at yesterday’s latest shocking ABC figures that day is coming much quicker than many might imagine yet still the ‘content chiefs’ justify their roles by trying to grab a bit of the market yet at the same time pushing out ‘sponsored content’ which does nothing but drive people away

    I wonder how many of those papers above will still be here st year end?
    Watch this space

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  • February 24, 2017 at 12:37 pm
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    In my eyes, it can’t lose!
    They have a captive audience so readers either buy the paper or they pay through the paywall.

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