The Australian to turn on paywall on Monday

The Australian’s paywall begins on Monday, News Limited boss John Hartigan has told the company’s staff.

Hartigan said the move – which sees a freemium model with some content remaining free, and some behind a pay wall – “represents a major step in the creation of a sustainable model for quality journalism.”

In an interview with Mumbrella, The Australian’s editor Clive Mathieson said: “There are a lot of sceptics about it. If you ask any consumer are you prepared to pay for something you received for free, the first answer is going to be ‘no of course not’. We do know there are those attitudes out there, but we have information at The Australian written by our reporters that won’t be available elsewhere and that’s the key.”

Pricing starts from a weekly $2.95 for digital only access through to $7.95 a week for digital access and a six day subsctiption to the newspaper. There is a three month free trial running until mid December.

It emerged earlier this week that the paywall would be turned on during October, but Hartigan’s announcement is the first time that the exact timing has been revealed.

Hartigan said:  

Dear Colleague,

Next Monday marks an incredible milestone in Australian journalism with the launch of The Australian’s digital subscription service.

This service will pioneer the way Australians consume media.

With a special Digital Pass readers will be able to buy The Australian’s premium content online, on tablets and on a new mobile site.

Subscribers to The Australian newspaper will get full access to the digital platforms free.

All the details are in announcements being made today. Next week The Australian is launching a unique and significant marketing campaign to promote the start of this new era.

This launch represents a major step in the creation of a sustainable model for quality journalism in Australia. I am immensely proud that News is pioneering this innovation.

Great journalism is what we are all about. All of our research and all the indications are that people will pay for great journalism.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of many months hard work by The Australian, the dedicated digital technology subscriptions team, and countless staff across the company.

Building the technology platform to manage digital subscriptions was a huge task, but we have achieved our aims on time and on budget. I thank everyone for their outstanding commitment to the project.

The Australian’s premium digital service is part of how we see the future of journalism.

This week we have also launched a new stand-alone website This site is deliberately not a corporate showcase; it is a discussion forum for anyone interested in developments in media. We will commission material for the site, publish our own original thinking, link to the work of others and allow people who don’t work for News to contribute news, ideas, opinion and analysis.

I am confident that premium digital subscription services will be successful in Australia. On Monday, The Australian becomes the first of our mastheads to join a distinguished group of news brands that have already launched these services including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The Times and The Sunday Times of London and The New York Times.

John Hartigan

News Limited first revealed its paywall strategy in a speech fromThe Australian’s CEO Richard Freudenstein at this year’s Mumbrella360.

News Limited has also launched a website to encourage discussion of the paywall strategy.


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