Fairfax has finally unveiled some details of its paywall plans for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald websites, with a barrier being placed on some overseas users from next week.
Both sites will go behind a metered paywall, similar to the New York Times, for North America, Europe and the Middle East from next Tuesday, allowing 10 free stories before a subscription of $15-per-month kicks in.
Domestically a number of dirfferent subscriptions will be available, including tablet apps and an ”all digital access” packages, whilst people receiving home delivery of the paper for two or more days will get a complimentary pass.
However, the company says the number of free articles will be higher in domestic markets, with Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific countries all set to experience the paywall from “mid-year”.
The news comes three weeks after the publisher changed its broadsheet papers to a compact size, as part of a “Fairfax of the Future” plan which has seen hundreds of job losses as it tries to adjust for the modern market.
Fairfax’s Metro Media CEO Jack Matthews said: “We’ve researched and tested digital subscriptions extensively.
“The meter model is proving to be the most successful with publishers overseas because it’s easy to understand and it enables less frequent readers to continue to visit the websites, just as they do now.
“The landscape has changed enormously over the past few years and our readers understand that we must introduce subscriptions so we can keep bringing them the best in digital news innovation.”
New features for subscribers will include Zoom, a tool to search archives more effectively, and Shortbooks, interactive e-books curated by journalists on certain topics, as well as unique offers.
Visits to the homepage, photo galleries and videos will not be included in the meter, whilst articles visited through search engines and from email newsletters will also be available when the free allocation has been used.
Matthews said launching in the overseas markets would allow them to test the sites before sending them live domestically.