News Corp’s The Australian paywall to go live on Monday
While it was reported earlier this week that News International had ditched the idea of a paywall for The Sun other parts of the News Corporation empire are pressing ahead with plans.
The Australian will put its paywall live on Monday, according to News Limited boss John Hartigan, beginning with a three month free trial.
What it won’t do is pursue the paywall model employed by The Times, which locks out social media.
As I blogged last year News Corp’s Australian titles plan to use the model employed by sister title the Wall Street Journal. This will see some content remaining free while other content goes behind the paywall. It is also the model used by the New York Times and the Financial Times.
The model to be used by The Australian will see content such as blogs remaining free, which is as it should be. Anyone who puts blogs behind a paywall is missing a trick, I would say.
Hartigan said the move represented a major step in the creation of a sustainable model for quality journalism”.
In an interview with Mumbrella, The Australian’s editor Clive Mathieson said: “There are a lot of sceptics about it. If you ask any consumer are you prepared to pay for something you received for free, the first answer is going to be ‘no of course not’. We do know there are those attitudes out there, but we have information at The Australian written by our reporters that won’t be available elsewhere and that’s the key.”
The Australian paywall will offer various subscription deals starting from a weekly $2.95 for digital only access through to $7.95 a week for digital access and a six day subsctiption to the newspaper.
Here is Hartigan’s letter to staff about the paywall said:
Next Monday marks an incredible milestone in Australian journalism with the launch of The Australian’s digital subscription service.
This service will pioneer the way Australians consume media.
With a special Digital Pass readers will be able to buy The Australian’s premium content online, on tablets and on a new mobile site.
Subscribers to The Australian newspaper will get full access to the digital platforms free.
All the details are in announcements being made today. Next week The Australian is launching a unique and significant marketing campaign to promote the start of this new era.
This launch represents a major step in the creation of a sustainable model for quality journalism in Australia. I am immensely proud that News is pioneering this innovation.
Great journalism is what we are all about. All of our research and all the indications are that people will pay for great journalism.
Today’s announcement is the culmination of many months hard work by The Australian, the dedicated digital technology subscriptions team, and countless staff across the company.
Building the technology platform to manage digital subscriptions was a huge task, but we have achieved our aims on time and on budget. I thank everyone for their outstanding commitment to the project.
The Australian’s premium digital service is part of how we see the future of journalism.
This week we have also launched a new stand-alone website futureofjournalism.com.au This site is deliberately not a corporate showcase; it is a discussion forum for anyone interested in developments in media. We will commission material for the site, publish our own original thinking, link to the work of others and allow people who don’t work for News to contribute news, ideas, opinion and analysis.
I am confident that premium digital subscription services will be successful in Australia. On Monday, The Australian becomes the first of our mastheads to join a distinguished group of news brands that have already launched these services including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Times and The Sunday Times of London and The New York Times.
News Limited has also launched a website to encourage discussion of the paywall strategy.