The Guardian Considering Putting Some Content Behind Paid Membership

girl with a laptop sitting on newspapers
SHARE
THIS



The Guardian is considering putting some content behind a paid membership scheme for its UK and global sites that includes Australia.

The international publication already has a membership scheme in place – which is internally termed membership 1.0. It was first launched in September 2014 in the UK and is still in ‘beta’ mode as the publisher tests out various functions. Membership 1.0 gives members access to various Guardian associated events and masterclasses. So far it hasn’t been actively marketed in Australia and most of the membership benefits have been in the UK.

However, there’s a revised membership scheme in discussions at the moment which gives readers additional and bespoke content from journalists, explained Margy Vary, head of marketing at The Guardian Australia. 

The revised scheme will be an add-on to membership 1.0 and will feature content only available to people who are members of The Guardian. It won’t include mainstream news and current affairs. While there hasn’t been a final decision made yet on the new scheme The Guardian appointed Natalie Hanman to the role of executive editor for membership in late January this year. Hanman had previously been the editor of the publication’s section Comment is Free.

The Guardian has been outspoken in its intent to not put its content behind a paywall as many competitors have. Vary said this conversation has softened somewhat in recent times, however was still adamant they would never ask readers to pay for news and current affairs.

“We still don’t believe in paywalls being the main business model,” she explained to B&T, “and we would never put main news behind a paywall. There would never be anything that prevented anybody who wanted and needed to know what was going on from finding out for free.

“But we believe there are certain elements of content that we can have for a financial and membership model…that will add value to your experience.”

While believing paywalls are flawed business models for general news sites, Vary does say it works for niche and highly targeted publications like The Financial Times, as people are coming there for a very specific reason.

“We’ve got to find the sweet spot in between where we don’t want to offend anybody but at the same time add value.”

The membership scheme comes at a time when publishers need to find more revenue streams due to dwindling display ad revenue.

With the advent of ad blockers, Vary said they needed to find other ways to fund the publication and having the support from others helps.

There’s a number of membership tiers in the scheme, depending on what kind of access you want and how much you’re willing to pay. B&T understands there’s more than 155 thousand members globally.

Kath Viner, editor of The Guardian, said it’s about having a deeper relationship with the member, and a way for the loyal readers to give back to the publisher.

“We are not going to be introducing a paywall, it is about a deeper relationship,” she said at an event in London, according to the Press Gazette.

“The most loyal readers really feel like they own The Guardian and those who work there are just passing through. What I want to do is really help cement our relationship with those readers, take them really seriously, bring them in and get them paying for it.”

An official statement from The Guardian said: “We are constantly exploring ways to better engage with our audiences and to bring our ground-breaking open journalism to life for our readers.

“We have already been on an incredibly successful journey from print to digital, and are now considering new revenue streams, including a greater focus on live experiences and a new membership scheme to bring our readers closer to our journalism and our brand.

“This isn’t about introducing a paywall. We are exploring new ways to monetise our audience, one of which is a potential new membership scheme to allow our readers to engage more closely with our journalism and our brand.

“The Guardian’s open approach to journalism and its readers means that we are constantly looking at new ways to engage our audiences and enable them to get involved with our content.”

The interview with Vary was conducted during the thumping beats of WOMAD, a cultural music festival in Adelaide. B&T travelled to WOMAD as a guest of The Guardian’s.

Latest News

Why Aussie Adland Needs To Call “Time” On The “Good Ol’ Days”
  • Opinion

Why Aussie Adland Needs To Call “Time” On The “Good Ol’ Days”

In this guest post, J Walter Thompson Sydney’s head of strategy, Carly Yanco (pictured below), argues it’s time to call time on Australian advertising’s decadent times of yesteryear… I keep hearing that there was a time when working in advertising meant you were able to enjoy an extraordinary amount of long lunches, drunken office antics and politically incorrect […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Bebhinn Carey Promoted To MediaCom’s APAC Communications Director
  • Marketing
  • Media

Bebhinn Carey Promoted To MediaCom’s APAC Communications Director

MediaCom has announced the promotion of Bebhinn Carey, currently marketing and PR director for MediaCom AUNZ, to communications director APAC. Carey started at MediaCom five years ago and since that time has completely overhauled how the agency’s approach to PR and marketing and has created a significant impact across the organisation. As communications director APAC, Carey will lead strategic communications […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Teens Urge Parents Not To Encourage Underage Drinking In New Ads By 303 MullenLowe
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Teens Urge Parents Not To Encourage Underage Drinking In New Ads By 303 MullenLowe

Curtin University’s Alcohol Programs Team at the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA, in partnership with the Mental Health Commission, has unveiled a new campaign designed to reinforce the importance of delaying adolescent alcohol initiation until at least 18 years of age. Previous ‘Alcohol.Think Again’ campaigns have successfully raised community awareness of the vulnerabilities adolescents […]

Wednesday TV Wrap: Once Again, Hard Quiz Upstages Its More Fancied FTA Rivals
  • Media

Wednesday TV Wrap: Once Again, Hard Quiz Upstages Its More Fancied FTA Rivals

The wonderfully eccentric Hard Quiz continues to punch above its weight, once again the most watched entertainment show of Wednesday night. The comic quiz show pulled 710,000 viewers last night and saw of Seven’s Bride & Prejudice (623,000) and 10’s The Bachelorette (618,000). Despite its combo with Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell (703,000), the ABC still had […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Media i Awards 2018 Winners Announced
  • Media

Media i Awards 2018 Winners Announced

The Media i Awards, recognising media sales excellence, were announced last night at a sold-out awards ceremony in Sydney. Voted by peers, the Media i Awards acknowledge the important role media sales representatives play in the continual pursuit of media advertising excellence. Introduced in 2011, the Media i Awards are the only awards dedicated to […]

Men’s Health Appoints Scott Henderson As Editor
  • Media

Men’s Health Appoints Scott Henderson As Editor

Pacific today announced the appointment of Scott Henderson as Men’s Health editor and content director. Gereurd Roberts, CEO, Pacific, said of the appointment: “With his experience, Scott brings a deep insight into what truly engages and motivates men to action when it comes to health and lifestyle. “This, coupled with his drive to extend the […]

Ogilvy Australia Calls On Aspiring Agency Talent For Goliath 2019
  • Media

Ogilvy Australia Calls On Aspiring Agency Talent For Goliath 2019

Ogilvy Australia has opened applications for its annual integrated ‘Goliath’ program, calling on all talented individuals interested in applying for the sought-after positions. The 12-week paid program provides a unique opportunity to work within all elements of the agency, giving participants a completely immersive experience. This includes significant time spent within creative, digital, social and […]

GQ Men Of The Year: Todd Sampson Wins For Media, As Joel Edgerton Takes Top Gong
  • Marketing
  • Media

GQ Men Of The Year: Todd Sampson Wins For Media, As Joel Edgerton Takes Top Gong

GQ Australia has celebrated its 20th anniversary and the 12th annual GQ Men of the Year Awards at a black tie gala at The Star in Sydney last night. The GQ Men of the Year Awards presented by Audi recognise and honour extraordinary men and women who lead by example, striving for positive change, and achieving […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
African Elephant and baby: Teaching in Masai Mara at Kenya.
  • Media

PayPal Giving Fund Launches In Australia

PayPal Australia has today announced the establishment of the PayPal Giving Fund Australia, a Public Ancillary Fund and charity registered with the Australian Charities & Non-Profits Commission (ACNC), to enable greater charitable giving across Australia. PayPal Giving Fund will help Australians support their favourite causes via secure online donations, and extends PayPal’s commitment to process […]

REA Group names Tracey Fellows as new CEO..
  • Advertising
  • Media

REA Group Boss Tracey Fellows Steps Down To Take On Global Role At News Corp

Tracey Fellows is stepping down from her role as REA Group’s chief executive to become president of global digital real estate at News Corp. Based in New York, Fellows’ new role will see her responsible for driving strategy and growth across all of News Corp’s digital real estate interests. Fellows has been in the top […]

JWT Melbourne Bolsters Leadership Team Via Two New Senior Hires
  • Advertising

JWT Melbourne Bolsters Leadership Team Via Two New Senior Hires

J. Walter Thompson Melbourne has further extended its offer and added significant firepower to its front bench via the appointments of a leading data-driven marketing expert, and one of the industry’s most qualified social media practitioners. Effective immediately, Catherine Graham joins the agency as director of customer experience, charged with integrating data and its use […]

during practice for the 2018 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit on October 26, 2018 in Phillip Island, Australia.
  • Media

Network 10 Extends MotoGP Agreement

Network 10 is pleased to announce it has extended its agreement with Dorna Sports to broadcast the premier motorcycle racing FIM World Championship, MotoGP for the next three years. With the 2018 MotoGP Championship season nearing its end, the extension of the broadcast deal is a coup for Australian motorsport viewers. The extended deal guarantees […]