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News Limited confirms move to metered paywall

NEWS+_LOGO_POS_CMYK_V5News Limited has this morning confirmed the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun will move to a metered paywall beginning from next Thursday.

The announcement comes less than a month after Mumbrella revealed the move away from the “freemium” model to a two stage metered model.

Readers will be given five free articles a week before being required to register, then an additional 10 per week at the Herald Sun and 15 per week at The Daily Telegraph.

As previous reports suggested, the new digital subscriber strategy is to be called News Plus and will see be introduced at Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun in May, before being extended to AdelaideNow and The Courier Mail in June.

“Our new digital subscription service for the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph with the exciting addition of news+ marks an important landmark for News Limited as we continue paving the way for commercially sustainable models for quality journalism and digital innovation in Australia,” said News Limited CEO Kim Williams.

As part of the launch the company says it will offer integrated content from Fox Sports as well as enhanced online local coverage across each state masthead.

“For the first time, we will see an integration of high-quality FOX SPORTS broadcast reporting, analysis and commentary across News’ online network giving our masthead subscribers access to fine content as part of the news+ product,” he said.

“We will continually enhance the value of our digital subscription product – over time we will also integrate our online lifestyle and business content offerings within the mastheads and their news+environment. Other additional subscriber benefits will be launched progressively.”

Under the new metered model customers will be charged $1 for the first 28 days and then $4.00 a week.

News Limited also announced it would refresh its online and mobile websites ahead of the move.  “The refreshed sites follow from extensive customer research and user testing. The new designs reflect what our customers tell us they want – they are faster, offer easier and more intuitive navigation, have up to 20% more homepage content than the sites they replace with better presentation and auto-adjustments tailored for a wide range of different digital devices,” said Williams.

The company would not comment on what impact the news+ metered shift would have on The Australian’s “freemium” paywall. However, News Limited sources have previously told Mumbrella that the national broadsheet would move to a metered model in the new financial year.

Nic Christensen

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