The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that News Limited (the Australian arm of News Corporation) will officially announce its paywall for the Australian this week, after it outlined plans for a ‘freemium’ subscription model for its online content back in June.
It had already been announced that the model will offer access to some content for free, but others will require payment.
According to the SMH report the site will charge $2.95 a week to access all content across the website and its phone and tablet apps.
It will be the first paywall for a general newspaper in Australia, an experiment that has achieved mixed success overseas by newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, the Financial Times and The Economist.
It will follow the approach of News Corp stablemate The Wall Street Journal. Some stories will be able to be read for free while others will need a subscription to be read, most likely to be its analysis and specialised sections.
Offers are now being taken for Rupert Murdoch’s Fiji Times, following a new decree in the country which means media outlets must be largely owned by the country’s citizens.
According to a report by the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper blog, PricewaterhouseCoopers – hired by News Limited (News Corps’ Australian brand) to value the daily paper – is calling for “expressions of interest” from potential buyers up until 9 August.
Under the new decree, which went into effect on June 28, media outlets must be 90 percent owned by Fijians citizens that reside in the country. Although News Limited did not want to sell the newspaper, the military government has said there will be no amendments to the decree and no extensions will be given.
“Overington said that News Limited had many wonderful plans of which they were very proud, and they could not be unveiled yet, but she believed they would lead people to pay for content.
“Then in the closing stages of the session, she referred to iTunes, and how people had turned to paying for music that they could get elsewhere for free because of the entry of a ‘cool new toy’ in the iPhone.
“She added: ‘That’s kind of what we are thinking about.’
“So what is it, I wonder? Some kind of deal with Apple, soon to release its new electronic reader? A competing product? Very intriguing.”
Crikey.com reports that a meeting at News Limited’s Australian headquarters in Holt Street was due to take place today (Friday) ‘at which the company’s most senior local lieutenants will talk about the coming year.’ Crikey writer, Margaret Simons, speculates that there could be “axings, redundancies and restructuring to allow for yet more redundancies are on the agenda.”