The editor of one of Britain’s biggest regional dailies editor has announced plans to implement what he termed a “harder paywall” for readers of the newspaper’s website.
The Press & Journal currently runs a metered paywall on its site, which sees readers get access to a certain number of free articles each month before being told to choose from a variety of subscription packages.
But in an interview with media and marketing magazine The Drum, Richard admitted that “running a metered paywall is difficult” and that subscribers are only in the “low thousands.”
Said Richard: “What we would like to do over time is to make it a harder paywall and put a lot more bespoke digital-only content behind it.”
He conceded that such an approach was “not necessarily compatible with much of the industry” in the UK, saying: “That pile it high, page view-based approach is a very British view.”
But he added: “If you look around the world… Scandinavian and American papers are recognising that the problem with trying to monetise page views is that – as my schoolboy economics tells me – when supply is infinite, price drops.
“The supply of advertising space on the internet is infinite.”
Richard added: “In other regional papers in Britain, the resources are such that – even if they wanted to – I’m not sure that they could serve unique content to their audiences.
“Content creation is the absolute first for us and we protect that above all else. As long as we have that content you must be able to make money out of it.”
“We don’t have any news infrastructure here; PA doesn’t operate here and there are relatively few freelance agencies here so if we want to fill our pages with stories from our part of the world we have no other option but to open the door and take out a bunch of reporters every day to go out and find stuff.
“We are in every council and every court on our patch every day. That’s what we do that nobody else does and that unique content is so important. It’s a simple formula: nobody else is doing it therefore we should benefit from it.”