Johnston Press to put up pay walls

Regional publisher Johnston Press is to charge for content across a number of its sites from next week as rival publisher Trinity Mirror admits it would not rule out a pay wall.

Johnston Press

Pay walls are to be introduced across a number of Johnston Press titles, which include Doncasterfreepress.co.uk, Barnsleytoday.co.uk and Lynnnews.co.uk, according to a report on HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk.

It’s believed users will be charged £5 for a three-month subscription to access content beyond the home page across a selection of the publisher’s newspaper sites.

HoldtheFrontPage.co.uk has reported an internal memo circulated by senior managers in one Johnston Press division which read, “Customers are used to paying for content in-paper and we are simply transferring this thinking online.”

Chris Bunyon, digital director at rival publisher Trinity Mirror Regionals, said introducing a pay wall was not part of the publisher’s immediate strategy but added, “It’s not something we would wholeheartedly rule out. It depends on the proposition you take to market and the value it brings to customers.”

“Now is a time when a lot of publishers are experimenting and over the years we’ll see some failures and successes. We wouldn’t rule it out,” he added.

In the past few months publishers have announced moves to introduce pay walls. Earlier this month Emap, publisher of business-to-business magazines such as Retail Week, Architects’ Journal and New Civil Engineer, said it will make all its online content paid-for only (nma 2 November 2009).

The Financial Times, which already has a hybrid charging model, plans to introduce a pay-per-article model (nma 7 August 2009). News Corp chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch has made several announcements about his plans to introduce pay walls across titles including The Sun and Times Online.

Johnston Press declined to comment.

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk

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