Herald & Times Group news sites are two of the top four fastest growing in the UK, new statistics show.

HeraldScotland - the only platform in the ABC list to operate a subscription paywall - recorded 66.1% growth for July-December 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.

That came on top of similar growth in the first half of 2013, and despite the paywall being tightened last August.

Our sister platform Eveningtimes.co.uk grew 79.4% in the second half of last year, placing it second in the regional growth table only to the Nottingham Post, which had 81.3%. Third was the Birmingham Mail, which had 73.6%, and fourth was HeraldScotland.

Average monthly unique browsers for the two sites are: 1,425,123 (HeraldScotland) and 442,291 (Evening Times).

Herald and Times Group's managing director Tim Blott said the company's total audience was growing faster than ever before, despite recent doom and gloom reports of newspaper print sales' decline.

The ABC figures show that, while average print copy sales for The Herald have dropped by 9.8%, and the Evening Times by 15.7%, the group's own total audience (print and digital) data reveals The Herald has grown by 40.59 % to 2.127 million and The Evening Times' total audience (print and digital) has risen by 32.4% to 995,000 in January 2014 versus January 2013.

Digital revenue has also grown by 19% over the last financial year (end December 2013).

Herald and Times Group now has more digital paying subscribers than paying print subscribers as it consciously focuses on offering multi-platform news options to readers and cross-platform advertising opportunities to advertisers.

Speaking on the business strategy which has seen Herald and Times Group develop into one of the largest and fastest-growing media businesses in Scotland, Mr Blott said: "The changing face of news consumption is making platforms less relevant than the content they deliver."

Mr Blott, who is also president of the Scottish Newspaper Society, continued: "Doom and gloom stories of newspapers' demise are way off the mark. It's time to focus on revenue and audience growth across all platforms and drop the commentators' outdated preoccupation with print.

"I'll print newspapers for so long as people want to buy them - and they continue to have a distinct and enduring market - but our projected revenue stream is all about multi-platform access now.

"The influence wielded by quality news providers such as the Herald & Times Group has in fact never been greater. The fact is that online subscription revenue models are working and that overall digital revenues are growing.

"We've got to move away from prophesising the death of newspapers, and instead look to the future and how business models are changing to better serve our changing audience behaviours. Future audience growth and total revenue potential looks more exciting than has been the case for a very long time."