In transitioning to online, The Eastwood Mercury has the luxury of being unencumbered by print legacy – the Glasgow paper went out of business in the early 1990s.
But it was recently resurrected online, in a format that many newspaper website proprietors wouldn’t necessarily recognise.
The reborn news site, covering three Glasgow suburbs, offers highly local content – like crime maps, property prices and kids school photos for parents – but only to folks who register for free.
Allmediascotland says Eastwood Mercury has attracted 3,000 subscribers this way, and publisher Clyde & Forth Media says their addresses are crucial to the future.
“We don’t charge for any content, but we build up a knowledge of the subscribers,” editorial manager Tom McConigley tells Allmediascotland. “We are also in the process of finding out what they’re interested in. It’s not a paywall, but it is a kind of wall, because you can only join the ‘Mercury club’ if you live in the area and sign-up to the site.
“Every week we only email out premium content to our 3000-plus subscribers, strong stories which would be splashes in newspaper terms. You can’t abuse the privilege of having someone’s email address. The stuff you send out by email must be wanted by the reader. All the other smaller stories are available to read on the website.”
An accompanying lifestyle magazine and event appear to be the money-makers.