Regional Newspapers - UK - August 2016
“Willingness to pay for digital regional newspaper content is growing, particularly among younger people. As ad blockers create a new threat to digital advertising revenue, more regional titles may want to consider the option of implementing a soft paywall on select regional content.”
– Rebecca McGrath, Media Analyst
This report discusses the following key topics:
- Monetisation options as ad blocker use increases
- Introducing new digital features
Regional/local newspapers continue to struggle, with print circulation falling further and more titles and jobs being lost. The quick closure of the major new regional print newspaper 24: The North’s National in July 2016 further demonstrated the difficulty of trying to find a print audience, with the exception of commuter-based free titles. Online publishers face the challenge of competing with the BBC’s regional coverage, although closer ties are being established between publishers and the organisation in order to help mitigate the potential impact on regional titles.
Publishers’ digital content, especially mobile content, has become the priority, as the industry adapts to modern news consumption habits. While only 15% of people currently read regional/local titles online, this figure continues to grow year-on-year and is higher among younger people. Even more encouraging for regional publishers is that willingness to pay for regional online content is also growing, and is significantly higher among younger readers. This suggests that soft paywalls, if implemented carefully and for the correct content and features, are potentially a viable monetisation option.
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