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Publisher launches ad-free, paid-for service at seven titles

Hannah CorkenReader feedback on website advertising has prompted a regional publisher to launch a new paid-for app which is free of ads at seven titles.

Reach plc has announced the launch of the new app, which will trigger a paywall if readers view more than 25 stories in a week.

The apps have been launched for the digital arms of the Birmingham Mail, Newcastle Chronicle, Hull Daily Mail and Teesside Gazette, as well as online-only titles Belfast Live, Yorkshire Live and Wales Online.

The launch follows the same move by Reach daily the Manchester Evening News, which announced in June the same paywall measures were being introduced on its MEN Premium and Manchester United News apps.

Users can pay £2.99 a month, or make a one-off annual payment of £19.99, which entitles them to an advertisement-free experience and other features including a weekly curation of the best stories, a ‘News Digest’ and five exclusive puzzles each day.

Reach head of news Hannah Corken, pictured, wrote in a message to Hull Daily Mail readers: “We know what you like and what you don’t like, because you tell us – sometimes in a very robust way and that’s the way it should be.

“Listening to you means we learn how to serve you better. And, one of the issues you’ve raised is around the performance of our website.

“Advertising is important to us. We need it to pay our journalists and to keep our website free. But it’s also important to us that you enjoy visiting us – and that your experience of reading our pages is smooth and easy.

“We always want to innovate. And that’s why we’re excited to tell you about how our app is evolving.

“We are in the process of launching Hull Live Premium which allows you to support our journalism and get the best user experience we can provide at the same time.”

Hannah added: “We have thought long and hard about asking you to pay for our work. But that’s the way that we can bring you more of what you like.

“We’ll never stop bringing you the breaking news which makes us your first port of call when you want to know what’s happening on your doorstep.”