What is Axate and why are we introducing it?

Agate: Frequently asked questions

For decades, Express owner Baylis Media Ltd has produced newspapers that are dedicated to public service journalism and we remain committed to holding those in power to account, reporting on criminals who have been brought to justice and bringing you community news from your area.

Since the creation of the Louis Baylis Trust, we have also given back more than £6million of our profits, which have been shared out to dozens of community groups and charities.

We want to continue doing what we do best for years to come, but that means adapting to the challenges facing the world of journalism. It is no secret that online news, while opening up a world of possibilities to reach a wider audience than we have before, does not bring in the same revenue publishers have traditionally received from their print output.

There is an expectation among some that online news should be completely free but it costs money to produce and that attitude is unsustainable in the long run. Collectively, hundreds of hours of work go in to our print and online output every week.

But, from this week, we will be asking you to pay a small fee – 20p – per premium article to read some longer stories online.

The Express will be introducing a new secure system, called Axate (previously known as Agate), which allows readers to top up an online ‘wallet’ to read those premium articles.

After the user reads three articles in a week, all of our content will be free to read for the week. Many of our articles, including breaking news and crime updates, will still be free to read.

We know this move won’t be popular with everyone but when you sign up, you can be safe in the knowledge you are helping quality, sustainable journalism and that the money we make from this won’t be going into the pockets of shareholders.

The Express is proud to be independent and proud to give back to the community through the Louis Baylis Trust. We hope our loyal readers will continue to support us through Agate.

Click here to read the Axate frequently asked questions.

James Preston


Baylis Media Ltd

*Agate has rebranded to Axate, but no readers wallets will be in any way affected

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  • Paul Janik

    14:22, 15 May 2019

    After the disastrous £1.05 per copy price for a news-deficient SLEX especially when compared to relatively more news and oodles of letters in the MAAD for a cheaper £0.60 per copy, the de facto paywall is a mistake. The paper SLEX is unpopular with the Slough public as evidenced by piles of free copies remaining in Slough shops like Sainsbury even on a Thursday following publication on the previous Friday. Before Mirror Group Newspapers sold the SLEX to then Clyde & Forth (then owners of the SLOB) the SLEX paper edition was highly profitable and THICK. The MAAD has been a poor parent for a once thriving Slough newspaper, perhaps because many decisions are removed from the editor by Jason ? SLEX's copy-and-paste journalism and its adoration of Slough Council are hardly essential ingredients for exploiting the increasing public interest in local Slough news. When will the paper title end or the title be sold for an attractive price ?



    • Paul Janik

      14:35, 15 May 2019

      Once again the web programme fails to convert line-endings into HTML BR characters - hence the jumbled mess.



  • DanDigital

    10:16, 12 April 2019

    I don't have a problem with this. More and more online publications are moving to a paid model. But, paying per article seems incredibly fiddly and 20p seems quite hefty. I'm sure you've done your homework, but would a simple monthly subscription not be better? Ps. Your Google login is not working.



  • Stranger

    00:27, 23 March 2019

    OK, momentarily disappointed to not be able to read articles on your website, but let me be honest with you. I don't see this working out for you (Baylis Media) either. There is always an alternative to the Baylis newspaper in every locality in which it's printed. For example, in Slough, there is the Slough Observer. There is also social media, to get the news (and more stories you will have missed). For these reasons, I won't be spending any money to read any articles, especially when you're shoving them through my door anyway as long as I'm willing to wait a few days for the printed version to come. By implementing this, you're spending £nnn on a website in the hope of recouping £0.20 per article. I don't see how it makes financial sense for you to sustain a website you make less accessible or how many 20p payers it will take to recover the costs of the website. but I'll watch closely and keenly to see if I, as a reader, find myself out of the loop for not playing ball. It's not the Daily Telegraph, is it. The idiom is "local rag".



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