A regional daily is to implement a metered paywall permanently on its website following a trial at two of its sister titles.
The Star, Sheffield, has announced the introduction of a subscription model on its site, which will allow readers to access five free articles per week before being asked to pay – with its editor pledging users will see “fewer advertisements” online as a result.
The subscription cost will be £1 per month for the first three months and £2 per week thereafter, or an annual subscription costing £78 can be purchased.
Star owner JPIMedia announced in May that the model was being implemented on a trial basis on the websites of both Blackpool daily The Gazette and Portsmouth daily The News. JPIMedia has told HTFP that those trials are continuing.
In a letter to readers explaining the change, Star editor Nancy Fielder, pictured, said: “The Star holds a unique role in Sheffield’s heritage and our journalists are the only ones who have recorded every event in the city to a high standard over the decades – but we are also excited about the future.
“We have transformed our newsroom and now work hard to make sure you have all today’s news and information at your fingertips on your mobile phone, tablet, laptop or PC. And we will continue to adapt and evolve our unrivaled service to meet your needs in our fast-paced digital world.
“We love providing you with the news and we trust that you want to stay on this journey with us. But quality journalism costs money and so today we are calling on the support of our loyal readers to sustain this by subscribing to thestar.co.uk.
“Our new subscription is focused on helping you stay in the know and a better online news service. We have listened to what our online readers want and this means fewer advertisements, access to our newsletters and free access to the app version of The Star.”
Nancy added: “Through your support we will be able to keep focusing on the news you want to read and report more on the issues that matter to you.
“It gives our journalists the freedom to continue reporting on the important events of the day; focusing on factual storytelling which impacts on your lives, investigating, holding powers to account, being your voice and fighting for justice.”
Other regional titles which have recently introduced paywalls include the Newbury Weekly News, the Newsquest-owned Bradford Telegraph and Argus, and seven east of England titles in the Iliffe Media stable.