Australian paywall: The verdictOctober 24, 2011
The Australian‘s paywall officially launched this morning and has generated a mixed response from digital media buyers.
After much publicity and anticipation, the launch of the first News Limited-owned paywall was later than expected, going live just after 10.30am this morning. It offers a free three-month subscription for readers to get used to the look, feel and the idea of paying for journalism online.
AdNews spoke to three digital media buyers on their thoughts of the paywall. MediaCom head of digital, implementation planning and investment Jonathan Betts said: “The site is simple and easy to access. The subscription model wasn’t a barrier to my reading experience.”
GroupM chief digital officer Danny Bass also found the site easy to navigate: “The free three month trial was a smart move. This will give people the chance to see the difference and make decisions as to whether or not the amount charged is fair.”
Ikon national digital director Ellie Rogers disagrees. Rogers believes the freemium model could succeed, however the current pricing price would prove a barrier for The Australian.
“I question the price point they have put on The Australian,” she said. “At $2.95 a week, it won’t succeed as when you stack this against its competitors it’s the most expensive in the world.”
“From an advertising point of view it will be interesting to see more creativity for advertisers in terms of creative solutions. There is potential to create extraordinary brand opportunities.”
It was unanimously agreed by Betts and Bass that the paywall would prove successful.
Bass said: “Of all the newspapers in the news family, The Australian is the one that has the best opportunity. From an advertisers perspective, The Australian is a unique calling. The more News Limited know about readers, the more they can share with agencies and brands.
Betts agreed: “An interesting element of the paywall is being able to target information to people as they subscribe. They will be able to identify key segments and target people in those segments.
“I think it will be successful. If you look at high end content in this space – things like the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal, both have managed to make a success of a paying model. The Australian‘s competition are also eventually going behind a paywall, so people won’t be able to get newspaper information free anywhere.