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Increasing content value ‘only way’ for local press says editor as paywall launched

James PrestonAn editor has said increasing the value of content is “the only way” for local newspapers after introducing a new digital subscription scheme.

Baylis Media print and digital editor James Preston has revealed the new paywall scheme which will allow readers of the company’s titles unlimited access to online content for £2 a month.

Baylis – which runs the Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough & South Bucks Express and Windsor & Eton Express – previously introduced a pay as you read model for its websites, and readers will still retain the option to pay this way if they so choose.

Some stories, including public health information about the coronavirus pandemic, will remain free of charge.

Introducing the new Axate paywall option to readers, James said: “We know that readers value our content, rather than the advertising around it.

“Increasing the value of that content and increasing our ability to invest in making more of what we know you need and want, is the only way for local newspapers. We can’t do that by giving everything away for free.”

James went on to add the move had been made at an “exciting time” for Baylis.

He added: “The financial pressure of the pandemic and homeworking has meant we haven’t been able to do everything we have wanted to over the past year – and I thank readers for their patience and understanding – but with the vaccine rollout gathering pace and hope on the horizon, we want to look to a world beyond coronavirus.

“Over the coming months, we will be introducing new digital content to better serve our audiences, as well as giving readers new ways to access and engage with our content. Watch this space.”