AddThis SmartLayers

Publisher celebrates after revealing it has 25k paying digital subscribers

A regional publisher is celebrating after revealing it now has 25,000 paying digital subscribers across its four regional daily titles.

DC Thomson has announced the subscriptions milestone across the Press & Journal and Evening Express, its titles in Aberdeen, and Dundee dailies The Courier and the Evening Telegraph.

It comes after a digital subscriptions drive launched last year by the publisher, which revealed plans to reach 75,000 digital subscriptions by 2025.

A restructure led to every member of staff taking new roles, and new editorial teams being created to concentrate on building deep expertise in individual areas such as crime & courts, health & wellbeing and environment & transport.

From left: P&J editor Frank O'Donnell and Courier editor David Clegg

From left: P&J editor Frank O’Donnell and Courier editor David Clegg

According to DC Thomson, the success of a story online “isn’t measured by the number of clicks it receives but by a ‘quality reads’ metric, identifying how much of an article has been read, putting high standards of reporting and engagement at the core of the work”.

The subscription achievement comes off the back of a series of victories for DC Thomson and its journalists at last month’s Scottish Press Awards.

Frank O’Donnell, editor of the P&J, said: “25k subscribers is a significant milestone on our journey to developing a sustainable digital newsroom.

“Having only launched in May last year, we are ahead of target and confident that the changes we have made in content, structure, product and audience-focus are delivering results.

“We must now keep listening to our audiences to deepen our understanding of what readers want from us.”

David Clegg, editor of The Courier, added: “This is an encouraging early success for our strategy of making journalism worth paying for.

“It is a tribute to the deep connection we have with our communities that so many thousands of people have chosen to support us on this journey.

“I want to thank our readers for helping us build a sustainable future for The Courier’s quality journalism.”

DC Thomson has also offered further insight into how its new model works.

In a statement, it said: “The focus of encouraging audiences to pay for news shifted from solely being tied to digital replicas of the printed products towards true digital-first subscription products, focused on delivering our communities more value from the content that the newsrooms produce.

“Research shows that subscribers place the most value in ‘up-to-the minute’ news, available to them at any time of day.

“Print continues to be a crucial part of the news mix, with more stories, an increased focus on supplements and reader participation.

“In particular, the P&J’s Saturday edition has been recently redesigned to substantially increase the breadth and depth of coverage with increased pagination and a renewed focus on features.”