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Publisher’s subscription numbers ‘ahead of expectations’ after paywall roll-out

Henry Faure WalkerA regional publisher says the number of digital subscribers it has gained since introducing metered paywalls are “substantially ahead of expectations”.

Newsquest has revealed record growth in the digital audience of its 160 local news websites, reporting an average of 41.5 million monthly unique visitors for the last six months of 2020.

The figures represent a 40.1pc increase in visitors compared with the same period in 2019.

The company says its sites also attracted 45.6m unique visitors this January, up 32.9% year on year, generating 260, page views in the month with an average of 5.7 pages per visitor.

The figures have been published after Newsquest introduced metered paywalls across 70 of its sites in April and May last year.

Readers have been invited to sign up to a subscription of either £4.99 per month or £52 per year.

In return, they receive access to unlimited articles, up to an 80pc reduction in visible advertising on the site and the ability to post comments online.

Newsquest chief executive Henry Faure Walker, pictured, said: “Local news sites in the UK command huge engaged audiences and have become the online destination for people who want trusted news, information and insights about what’s going on in their community.

“We’re particularly encouraged by the growth in Newsquest’s digital subscription business which is substantially ahead of expectations, and our new paywalls have had no significant constraint on the ongoing traffic growth we are seeing.”