Fairfax to erect Paywall in July

Fairfax to erect Paywall in July

Fairfax Media will introduce digital subscriptions for its metro titles from next month with both a freemium and meter model.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

From July 2 the digital subscriptions will be available for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age locally, in New Zealand and Asia-Pacific.

The announcement comes as CEO Greg Hywood revealed the company expects revenues to be down around 10% on last year.

The paywall will launch with a special $1 subscription offer for the first month. 

From then, free access to 30 articles a month will be on offer as part of the meter model, which covers the news sites and m-sites.

The SMH and The Age tablet apps will be available in a freemium format, whereby some sections will be free with others only available to paying readers.

The introduction of the paywall will have “minimal disruption” for readers, according to Allen Williams, managing director Australian Publishing media.

“The introduction of digital subscriptions for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age websites, m-sites and tablet apps is the single most significant development to our digital strategy since Fairfax Media began producing digital content and products. It is an important step in our strategy as it provides our business with additional revenue streams.”

Williams described the new model as “simple” and “audience-centric”.

An advertising campaign, created by Whybin\TBWA, to introduce the models will also kick off on July 2.

In addition to the access to 30 stories per month, the meter  model will allow non-subscribers to consume free app content, photo galleries and videos.

Two-day or more print subscribers will automatically receive full digital access.

Digital subscribers will also have access to new features including research tool Zoom, specialist eBook collection Shortbooks and rewards program, My Benefits.

In March, Fairfax launched a metered paywall for overseas readers in North Amercia, Europe and the Middle East. The model allows offshore readers access to 10 free stories before a subscription of $15-per-month kicks in. Compact editions of the metro mastheads also began hitting the newsstands in March this year.

Gary Linnell, director News Media, said: “Our readers understand that to continue to bring them the very best in digital news innovation we need to introduce new models that will suit both regular and less frequent visitors.”

The SMH and The Age combined have more than 3.7 million website visitors per month, according to Nielsen, and app downloads had reached more than 1.2 million at the end of April.

Launch Subscription Packages

Package 1:

  • Website access from any device (desktop or mobile)
  •  $1 for the first month, then $15 a month ongoing

Package 2:

  •  Full access to the iPad or Android tablet app
  •  $0 for the first month, then $21.99 a month ongoing

Package 3:

  • Website access from any device (desktop or mobile)
  • Full access to the iPad or Android tablet app
  • $1 for the first month, then $25 a month ongoing

Package 4:

  • Website access from any device (desktop or mobile)
  • Full access to the iPad or Android tablet app
  • Saturday and Sunday newspaper delivery
  • $1 for the first month, then $25 a month ongoing

Package 5:

  • Website access from any device (desktop or mobile)
  • Full access to the iPad or Android tablet app
  •  7 day newspaper delivery
  •  $1 for the first month, then $44 a month ongoing