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Digital subscriptions to become norm ‘very quickly’, predicts editor

A regional daily editor has predicted the digital subscription model will become the norm in the industry “very quickly”.

Michael Adkins, who edits South Essex daily the Echo, has made the prediction after saying publishers have given away journalism online for free “for too long”.

Like a number of fellow Newsquest tiles, The Echo has now switched to a metered paywall on is website.

Its introductory offer allows readers to sign up for £4 for four months or £31 for a year.

Michael Adkins 2024

Michael, pictured, wrote in an editorial: “As a person who reads news on many websites, I get how frustrating it can be when you’re hit with an intrusive message to subscribe that stops you reading an article.

“However, for too long our industry has given all our online journalism away for free and that must stop – but not for everything.

“We do not have a hard paywall. It’s designed to encourage people to sign up for a small charge where they can read all our news and sports stories, access reader rewards, online puzzles and offers. What’s best is you get an ad-light experience and access to the app.

“If you don’t subscribe you will see important public information and appeals, however, you will find after reading a certain number of articles that you will not be able to view all our stories. It does not seek to punish those who can’t afford it, or don’t want to subscribe, but it limits what they can see.

“Many sites – except the taxpayer funded BBC – are moving to some sort of subscription model and this will become the norm very quickly.

“For websites and newspapers to survive I believe we need a blended approach to generate revenue. We can no longer just rely on newspaper sales or print and web advertising to sustain our business.

“A subscription model must become part of the package and as you can see with the offer running – and the regular offers – you can do this for as little as a quid a month.”

“Love or hate it – the Echo has been a part of Southend and Basildon for decades and we want that to continue so I’m asking for you to support us and pay for our online journalism like you would if you popped into a shop and bought the paper.”