AFR ditches Dow Jones partnership to back own subscription model

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) has ditched an almost 10-year partnership with Dow Jones’ Factiva platform in a bid to back its own subscription model.

The decision comes after discussions between Nine and Dow Jones about how the partnership could better suit the publisher were unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

Factiva is a global news and licensed content database owned by Dow Jones which allows paying subscribers to search information published by 33,000 premium sources. The platform pays the sources a fee for their content which can then be used and distributed by Factiva.

The platform is used by students, businesses and librarians to access content from 200 countries in 28 languages.

The AFR has had an agreement with Factiva since 2011, when the platform provided an additional revenue stream to its traditional commercial model. Since then, the model for news platforms has changed somewhat, particularly for large outlets like Nine and News Corp where subscriptions are being touted as the solution to lessening advertising dollars.

David Eisman, director of subscriptions and growth at Nine, said with the success of a subscription-focused business for the AFR, the agreement with Factiva no longer made sense.

“We will no longer be supplying content from The Australian Financial Review to Dow Jones Factiva after failing to agree a model that can support sustainable investment in public-interest journalism,” said Eisman.

“The Australian Financial Review is focused on a subscription business model designed to support its award-winning journalism. The current relationship with Factiva is inhibiting that approach, and therefore is not in the long-term interests of our readers.”

The decision reflects the AFR’s commitment to boosting subscriptions as a primary revenue stream and growing its database, as well as being able to best utilise data provided by readers. While Factiva provided some analytical feedback, the data given didn’t match the depth of that which can be achieved by direct contact with readers, the publication said.

The AFR was also facing concerns from consumers who were unwilling to pay twice for what was perceived to be the same content.

However, the decision does not necessarily affect the future of other Nine titles and Factiva. The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald have their own agreements with Factiva which are currently planned to continue until such time as the model needs to be reviewed or is no longer viable.

The agreement between Factiva and the AFR was scheduled to be renewed in January 2020 but will now cease at the end of 2019.


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