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Fairfax moves The Age and SMH websites to metered paywall

Fairfax-Media-logo_high-res1Fairfax has today announced The Age and Sydney Morning Herald websites will operate under a metered paywall for Australian users from the start of next month.

Starting from July 2, both websites (which includes mobile versions) will have subscriptions that range from $15 to $44 per month. Users will be able to browse 30 articles each month before The Age and SMH websites lock out users in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region, who do not have subscriptions.

In March the company announced a metered paywall for readers in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Allen Williams, managing director of Fairfax’s Australian Publishing Media, said the move is the “single most significant development” to Fairfax’s digital strategy, with casual browsers experiencing “minimal disruption.”

Readers will be able to select from five subscription packages, which includes a “launch offer”  of $1 for the first month.

Tablet apps will use a freemium model, which means certain sections will be free, while others will only be accessible to paying subscribers. Visitors will also be able to view the homepages, photo galleries and videos as often as they wish without being prompted to subscribe.

Williams said: “It is an important step in our strategy as it provides our business with additional revenue streams. Fairfax Media has invested a considerable amount of time researching audience-centric digital subscription models. Our approach is simple; visitors will be able to continue to enjoy our content just as they do now, with minimal disruption, and subscribers will have access to a higher level of content plus additional benefits.”

Garry Linnell, director of News Media said the move was about sustainability.

He said: “Introducing digital subscriptions will allow us to continue to produce our quality content across multiple platforms, in a sustainable manner.”

The move will be promoted by a campaign created by Whybin/TBWA.

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