I see that the Express & Star have finally jumped the shark. They’re introducing a paywall, so that most of their online daily content is subscriber only. In short, there’s very little on their website that you’ll be able to read for free. This is a bold decision, by which I’m more than a little perplexed, to be frank. It’s possibly one of the most customer hostile things I think they’ve ever done.
I buy the paper every day, and I have it delivered from my local newsagent. I will now be prevented from accessing the online content of a newspaper I’ve paid for because I don’t have an online subscription with the Express & Star itself. Were I to set one up, I could have the paper delivered at home still, but the Express & Star gets the money upfront instead, and the newsagent loses out in terms of cash flow and delivery charges. What have the Midlands largest newspaper got against my newsagent?
Since the online content of the paper has never really extended to the Walsall edition, I assume the one online would be the Wolverhapton version. I presume the daily news feed will be the same mixture of 70% PA syndicated articles and 30% locally generated content as it is now, which to be quite honest, is piss-poor, whatever application you choose to wrap it up in.
For a newspaper that often displays quite interesting attitudes to where it finds it’s content, having also displayed some rather controversial journalistic interpretations, it’s going to have to improve by some magnitude before it’s worth switching to an online subscription option.
I’ll be curious to see how the venture fairs. With good local sites like WV11, The Lichfield Blog and a host of others kicking the local inkie’s backside all over town, both in terms of content and journalistic standards, it’s going to be a hard sell. Even harder in the light of the fact that the likes of The Birmingham Mail and The BBC have decided to embrace, rather than eschew, the local newshounds. Of course, the Express & Star doesn’t reject us, especially when it comes to sourcing stories. It’s just handing out the credit that makes them choke.
I always thought the Express & Star had a much higher opinion of itself than it warranted, it’s interesting to have that premise confirmed.