Express and Star app

The Express and Star has launched new iPhone and iPad apps which allow users to scroll PDFs of the print edition

The UK's biggest selling regional newspaper, the Wolverhampton Express and Star, has abandoned its part-paywall nine months after its introduction.

The Midland News Association's sister title the Shropshire Star has also stopped asking readers to pay for content on its site.

The scrapping of the paywalls comes just three weeks after the group's new managing director Phil Inman took over the post from Alan Harris.

In April, the Wolverhampton-based paper launched 'Express & Star 24', a digital-only package at £2.81 per week, costing more than the combined print, online and smartphone bundle priced at £2.34 per week due to the addition of VAT.

Inman said in a statement today: "The 24 premium service has been withdrawn following a review of the MNA's digital platforms."

As they abandon their paywalls, the two titles have launched new iPad and iPhone apps, charging £1.49 a week or £3.99 a month.

The apps, which allow users access to PDF versions of the paper, are "part of online enhancements planned for 2012", the statement says.

"The feedback from customers using the new app has been positive. Further projects are in development."

MNA is the second UK regional publisher to test and abandon paywalls. Johnston Press took down paywalls at some of the publisher's smaller titles – the Southern Reporter in Scotland, the Northumberland Gazette and the Whitby Gazette – in April 2010, three months after they were launched as part of a trial.

MNA announced 95 job cuts in April 2011, followed by 50 in December of last year.

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