Paywalls Are Business Suicide: Guardian Australia Boss

Paywalls Are Business Suicide: Guardian Australia Boss
SHARE
THIS



“I’m not saying paywalls are universally wrong,” said managing director Ian McClelland of the local edition of The Guardian, “But if you’re a general news operation, I think it’s a suicidal business model.”

The potential introduction of a paywall was a topic of discussion during a press briefing to mark the opening of The Guardian’s new Sydney offices.

McClelland discussed the reason why digital paywalls, adopted by competitors, would not be adopted by the Aussie edition of the British news site.

“Allowing readers to contribute and share is fundamental to the growth of The Guardian, but it’s really hard for audiences to contribute and share if we suddenly go behind a paywall,” McClelland said.

According to editor Emily Wilson local audiences comment twice as much as their US and UK counterparts and local audiences want to engage with the journalists, get closer to the news, and have a say.

McClelland added that a paywall would discourage open participation and sharing on social media. He argued readers are more likely to participate if they aren’t denied access to the website in the first place, describing news site paywalls as “the most deflating experience ever”.

Ian Tomlinson’s death at the 2009 G20 summit protest, was used as an example for why paywalls are disruptive to the flow of news. Tomlinson was a passerby during a G-20 protest, he died after being struck by a police officer. The Guardian published exclusive footage which contradicted the original autopsy report, proving that Tomlinson was unlawfully killed by a police officer.

McClelland argued that a paywall would have discouraged the onlooker, an investment banker from New York, from contributing his video. “That video didn’t come from a Guardian subscriber…why would you bother sending a video if the result of that footage was beyond a paywall?”

Yet the glaring question remains: how will the site make its British owners any money? After all, paywalls are increasingly popular and also can be very successful. The New York Times, for example, started charging for online content in March 2011. In 2014, according to CNN, the majority of the publication’s $91.9 million revenue- 52% comes from paywall subscribers

At the moment, The Guardian relies on three main revenue streams: traditional advertising, brand partnership and consumer revenue. They are currently experimenting with masterclasses and live events. Masterclasses are a range of courses, taught by Guardian journalists as well as figureheads of the media industry, across a broad genre of media disciples from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Advertising Standards Bureau meerkat PartnerReach

Latest News

Eyeota Enhances Reach And Targeting Precision For RDA Research
  • Marketing

Eyeota Enhances Reach And Targeting Precision For RDA Research

Leading Australian market research data brand, RDA Research, provides actionable consumer intelligence to help businesses inform decision making and growth strategies. RDA Research wanted to make its unique consumer data available for addressable digital targeting and required a data onboarding partner to help activate their data in an online environment.

Enthral Strengthens Journalistic DNA By Hiring Channel 7 Reporter Sean Sowerby
  • Media

Enthral Strengthens Journalistic DNA By Hiring Channel 7 Reporter Sean Sowerby

Storytelling agency Enthral has appointed Channel 7 reporter and sports presenter Sean Sowerby as its new senior PR and content manager in Melbourne. Sowerby (pictured) started his award-winning career at 3AW before spending more than 15 years in television. Enthral founder and manager director, Cameron Smith, spoke of the significance of Sowerby joining the agency. […]

Blis Puts Its CEO In The Desert In Clever New “Data Drought” Ad
  • Campaigns
  • Technology

Blis Puts Its CEO In The Desert In Clever New “Data Drought” Ad

Ever since Google first announced it would be getting rid of third-party cookies on Chrome, digital advertising businesses have been actively sharing their plans for life after cookies. And now programmatic advertising company Blis might have come up with the most creative way to get the message across, in a new video which sees company […]

Agency Icon Sweeps The SABRE Awards
  • Marketing
  • Media

Agency Icon Sweeps The SABRE Awards

Integrated Melbourne agency Icon has taken top honours in the 2021 SABRE Awards, winning the coveted Australasian Consultancy of the Year for 2021 along with a host of category and craft awards. Icon led a large field of Australian agencies with a total of three major and seven minor awards, including gold in the cause-related […]

Former Agency Execs Launch Car Service Summon
  • Marketing
  • Media

Former Agency Execs Launch Car Service Summon

Former agency executives Tim O’Neill and Tim Fouhy have launched the auto technology startup Summon. Australia’s first full e-commerce service for prestige cars. O’Neill and Fouhy both founded Reactive, a digital agency, which was bought by Accenture in 2016. Following the deal, O’Neill and Fouhy ended up leading the company’s digital marketing arm, Accenture Interactive before […]