The Australian refreshes website and introduces metering of free content

The OzNational broadsheet The Australian has today unveiled a refresh on the masthead’s mobile and web pages, as part of an overhaul which has also seen changes to its pricing and the introduction of limited metering on the website.

Under the changes the price of a digital subscription increases to $4 a week and sees the newspaper introduce a “hybrid-metered” model which will limit the number of “unlocked” articles non-subscribers can read to 5 per week.

Since late 2011, the newspaper has had a “freemium” paywall, which combines some free “unlocked” content with other content requiring a paid subscription.

“As we have always said, we will experiment with different approaches to digital subscriptions. Obviously we are keen to drive subscriptions further and so will be testing this hybrid approach,” said a News Corp Australia spokesman.

The move to metering for The Australian was first tipped, by Mumbrella, in April as part of the introduction of News+ digital subscriptions, which saw News Corp introduce metered paywalls across its various tabloid news websites.

The Australian’s new “hybrid-metered” model of metering free content, while putting a paywall on other content, is unique in the Australian market.

Rival Fairfax Media recently introduced a metered paywall but provide 30 free articles a month and do not lock certain content to subscribers only. While News’s tabloid websites vary the quantity of free articles under their metered paywall to between 10-15 per week.

The Australian has more than 50,000 audited digital subscribers to its website.

“The Australian now has over 55,000 digital subscribers, a number that has been growing around 10% per quarter. When you add this to print sales, The Australian now has more paying weekday customers than at any time in its history,” said the spokesman.

Nic Christensen



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