UK’s Biggest Regional Newspaper Ending Web Fees

The UK’s largest regional newspaper title, the Wolverhampton-based Express & Star, is ending the premium online payment tier it introduced in April 2011, whilst introducing updated paid tablet and smartphone editions.

“The 24 premium service has been withdrawn following a review of the MNA’s digital platforms,” said the new MD of its publisher, Midland News Association (MNA), Phil Inman (via Press Gazette).

Last spring, the paper split its news site in two. Breaking news remained free on the ongoing site, but a new site, Express & Star 24, required fees as part of a bundled pricepoint including newspaper subscription and apps access for £2.34 ($3.61) a week.

MNA debuted new iPad and iPhone apps this week. Reasons for the change are not clear, but there has clearly been a shift under Inman, who joined from rival Northcliffe this January 1. The change points to a recognition that mobile editions are easily chargeable-for whilst free web content remains attractive.