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Readers most likely to pay for court stories online, publisher reveals

Edward IliffeThe chief executive of an independent publisher has called for court transcripts to be made available online after revealing it is the content readers are most likely to pay for.

Iliffe Media’s Edward Iliffe has touted the idea after finding court stories were the most viewed online by people using the Axate pay-as-you-read system introduced by several of his titles.

But, addressing a House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee inquiry into the future of journalism yesterday afternoon, Edward said the centralisation of courts meant reporting cases had become difficult for some of his newspapers.

He cited the example of cases relating to Bury St Edmunds being heard in Ipswich.

Edward, pictured, told peers: “We’ve been led to believe that court reporting is of limited interest to the general public. We don’t believe that to be the case.

“We did a micropayments test on one of our newspapers where we would charge 20p to read content. Strangely, most of the content the people paid for was for court reporting.

“The problem that we have with court reporting now is that courts have generally been centralised and therefore don’t actually sit in many of our publishing areas that traditionally our offices are.”

Discussing the struggle to get stories due to court centralisation, he added: “If that story could just be transcripted and made available on online then our journalists could deal with that from anywhere in the world, quite frankly.

“And it’s not a transcript that the general public want to read. They want to read journalists’ view and opinion, that’s what we’re trying to provide.”