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Independent publisher launches paid-for paper after shelving free title

An independent publisher which suspended production of its free newspaper due to the coronavirus crisis has launched a new paid-for print title aimed at older readers.

LymeOnline has announced the launch of subscription-only paper LymeOnline Extra, which will be published fortnightly on a temporary basis.

The Lyme Regis-based hyperlocal publisher suspended its free print edition following a 90pc drop in advertising and sponsorship after the coronavirus lockdown began.

The company has continued to publish both on its website and through an e-edition of the LymeOnline paper, where traffic “doubled overnight” after the lockdown measures were introduced.

But the eight-page Extra title, which will be delivered to subscribers’ homes for £2 per month, has been introduced in a bid to help regular readers who are older or do not have internet access.

It will be published for a minimum of three months or until lockdown measures end.

Lyme Extra

LymeOnline editor Francesca Evans said: “We are conscious that many of our regular readers are older, isolating at home or may not be able to access the internet.

“This was one of our main concers when we took the difficult decision to temporarily suspend publication of our printed newspaper at the end of March due to the coronavirus restrictions.

“While the digital version of our newspaper is very well read, we know this does not reach all sections of the community so we are delighted to now be launching LymeOnline Extra.

“This will provide an essential local service, focussing specifically on the most important news, including the latest information and support available during the coronavirus pandemic. But, unlikw the digital version, it will carry no advertising.

LymeOnline was launched in 2018 by veteran journalist Philip Evans, Francesca’s father, to fill a void left by the View From series of papers following their closure.

Francesca added readers had begun to subscribe for LymeOnline Extra “within hours” of the initaitve being announced.

She said: “Many regular readers have told us how much they’re missing their printed copy of LymeOnline dropping through their letterbox, so we hope this new project will allow us to reach all those who have not been able to keep up with their local news via our website at a time when trusted news and information is most needed.”

The company has also recently introduced a new Sights & Sounds platform on its website which contains podcasts, videos, photo galleries and a weekly video news bulletin presented by Francesca.

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