Regional publisher Newsquest has rolled-out its paywall initiative to 40 of its weekly titles.
Titles include the Basingstoke Gazette, Chester Standard, Craven Herald, Falmouth Packet and Hereford Times.
The move follows the introduction of subscriptions to the publishers’ daily titles and a small number of larger weeklies a week ago.
It is believed the titles will continue to provide free access to Covid-19 related reports.
The scheme invites readers to sign up to a subscription of either £4.99 per month or £52 per year.
Those who sign up receive access to unlimited articles, as well as up to an 80pc reduction in visible advertising on the site.
The move has been introduced after the company recorded its highest year-on-year web growth last month.
At the launch of its daily paywall initiative, Newsquest announced visitors to its sites would need to register after reading 20 articles a month and would then be asked to subscribe after reading 40.
“We continue to believe that the online local news model will be predominantly a free to access one for the foreseeable future,” commented Newsquest Editorial Development Director Toby Granville told the Society of Editors on April 21.
“By users only needing to register if they wish to read more than 20 articles per month, and only need to pay if they wish to consume more than 40 articles per month, we ensure that our local news sites remain the number one trusted community hub – typically read by more than 70pc of the local population – whilst also developing new revenues and new opportunities from data.
“Users will not need to subscribe for coronavirus news updates so that this important local information remains free to all users. The majority of Newsquest’s local sites will continue to be entirely free to access.”
The full list of weekly titles included in the initiative are:
|Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald|
|Border Counties Advertizer|
|Bridport and Lyme Regis News|
|Chester and District Standard|
|Clacton and Frinton Gazette|
|East London & West Essex Guardian Series|
|East Lothian Courier|
|Gazette & Herald|
|Somerset County Gazette|
|St Helens Star|
|Stroud News and Journal|
|The Westmorland Gazette|
|The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald|
|Times and Star|
|Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard|
|Your Local Guardian|