The UK's biggest selling regional newspaper, the Express and Star, has today launched a part-paywall at £12.18 a month for a digital-only subscription.

The Wolverhampton-based paper has launched 'Express & Star 24', a print, online and smartphone package at £2.34 per week. As VAT applies to the digital-only package, it is more expensive at £2.81 a week.

Breaking news is still available on Express & Star's website but other content, such as photo galleries, match analysis and real time traffic and travel is no longer free and will only be available on the paid-for "premium" site and the new "intelligent '24' app" for iPhone and iPad.

When the Express and Star announced the launch of a new "premium" website last month, deputy editor Keith Harrison said would continue to publish "edited highlights" of the day's breaking news on the free-to-view front page of the site.

At that time Harrison told that if successful the part-paywall would be rolled out across the Midland News Association group, which includes the Shropshire Star.

According to ABC, the Express & Star recorded an average daily print circulation of 116,992 in the second half of 2010 had 581,528 monthly unique users in the same period - a year-on-year increase of 15.5 per cent.

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