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Dailies introduce paywalls after sister titles’ ‘rapid’ digital growth

Three regional dailies have introduced online paywalls after a “rapid growth” in digital subscriptions at their sister titles.

The Shields Gazette, Edinburgh Evening News and Wigan Post have become the latest JPIMedia titles to adopt the model on their websites.

HTFP reported last month how JPIMedia was planning to move seven more of its dailies to digital subscription models in the coming weeks.

The names of the other four set to introduce the system are yet to be revealed.

Shields site

JPIMedia sites already operating behind metered paywalls include The Scotsman, Portsmouth daily The News, Sheffield daily The Star, Blackpool daily The Gazette and the Belfast News Letter.

Chief executive David King announced the scheme would be expanded off the back of a “rapid growth in digital subscriptions” across the five titles during the pandemic.

Readers can opt to pay £5.99 per month for unlimited access to content, or an annual subscription of £59.90.

Shields Gazette acting editor Gary Oliver has explained the reasons behind the move in a message to readers.

In the editorial, he said: “Our new subscription service aims to keep you in the know while making your online experience easier. This means fewer advertisements and access to our newsletters.

“Yes, that means there will be a charge. But we hope you will agree there is also a value.

“For it will be your financial support that helps us continue to focus on the news you want to read about. To report more on the issues that matter to you, holding powers to account and making sure your voices are heard.

“In an age when social media is awash with unregulated content, inaccuracies and rumour, it is more important than ever that our regulated and trusted voice remains at the heart of the community.

“You are at the centre of what we do – and that is why we are asking for your continued backing. Thank you for your support.”