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Johnston Press pulls out of website subscription trial

Johnston Press, one of the leading UK local press companies, has today announced the ending of a trial which saw the Southern Reporter and the Whitby and Northumberland Gazettes charge customers to access news on their relevant websites. The four-month trial was the first major attempt to gauge public opinion regarding news site subscriptions and the fact the company has ended the trial does not board well for a similar announcement from News International.

While there is no doubt that at some stage the likes of Johnston Press and other media companies will need to increase their advertising income and their online income streams, whether it is too soon to charge for news stories remains to be seen. The truth of the matter is that despite significant costs behind the scenes to run news website and many other media outlets, Internet users of today have been "spoilt" with regards to free content and appear unwilling at the moment to subscribe to news information.

It will take a concerted effort by some of the major players in the media and news industry before UK Internet subscribers will even consider paying for news and other interesting information. While the News International trial may prove more successful there are growing doubts about the business model attached to the idea.

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