Johnston press halts ‘pay-to-read’ trial



Johnston press who publish The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday newspapers as well as many other local titles are understood to have ended a pay-to read facility on six of its newspaper websites.


The trial was set up last year and was seen as an attempt by the publisher to combat falling revenue as a result both of a slump in sales and the drop in advertising due to the recession


The publisher had tested the idea on websites of two of its Scottish weekly editions as well as four online newspaper sites from England.  The scheme saw readers charged £5 per quarter to access online content before deciding whether to roll it out on flagship titles.


However, the Press Gazette are reporting that the number of subscribers paying to access stories on the website of Selkirk-based the Southern Reporter was in the low double figures.


A spokeswoman for Johnston Press said: “The trial was intended purely for internal purposes. Therefore we will not be making any public comment about it.”


The decision by Johnston Press to end the experiment comes a week after the Sunday Times and The Times newspapers outlined plans to launch their own paid-for access model in June.


Publisher News International explained that there would be a £1 charge for a day’s access or £2 for a week’s subscription to the new websites for the two online newspapers.