26th October 2011 News Corp launch premium content subscriptions with their flagship paper The Australian.
On Monday 24th October, The Australian launched their premium content digital subscription . This signals a big move in the ongoing evolution of digital media in Australia and has sparked a good debate about whether the public will pay for digital content.
With so much content available on the web and through apps, we, the public are becoming more critical of the media we consume. While digital content on the web has a low distribution cost, it certainly is not free to create. The argument stands that premium content such as in-depth videos, interactivity and to build a community should incur a cost. News Corp have launched their foray with a 3 months free access pass, allowing readers to try before they buy.
There are 3 ways people make a ROI on their digital content;
1) Sponsorship deals eg Optus sponsored the launch of The Australian on the Galaxy Tab in 2010
2) Advertising through the apps or websites
3) Paid content such as digital paywalls or cost to download an app that are incurred by the reader.
News Digital CEO Richard Mr Freudenstein, said at Mumbrella 360 event earlier this year that News Limited’s approach to the “freemium” model will offer consumers a mix of free and paid content across tablet apps, online and digital.
One suspects, a premium rate for advertising will exist within the paywall due to better targeting (customers give their details at payment).
Internationally The Times in London has a paywell with over 100k paid subscribers. The New York Times has 40k digital subscribers (giving readers 20 free articles before having to pay), nine out of ten Slovakian papers now sit behind a paywall (with more people now accessing it than when it was free.)
But time will tell as to whether we , the readers can overcome our psychological barrier of not paying for digital content! An interesting article appeared in SmartCompany yesterday explaining this point with comments from behavioural economics specialist Bri Williams. It’s all about the term exclusivity apparently. News have done this well by ensuring that through our digital pass we will have access to new improved content, navigation and more in-depth journalism.
Ultimately, we are reminded again that content is king. Make the content so good, that people feel privileged to pay for it.
Oomph has powered The Australian on Android since September 2010. This week, we launched the digital paywall process and can recognise that this is a massive project for News Limited and for Oomph. We are proud to power Australia’s national newspaper onto emerging media and will watch with great interest to see how it continues to evolve.