John Drinnan: Newspapers edge closer to online news charges

79 comments
A key issue for APN and Fairfax will be how loose to set the meter for 'free' articles so that casual users still visit and advertising revenue is protected. Photo / Thinkstock
A key issue for APN and Fairfax will be how loose to set the meter for 'free' articles so that casual users still visit and advertising revenue is protected. Photo / Thinkstock

Newspapers are at the coalface of the media revolution this year as they push ahead with the switch in focus from print publications to online.

Change has been accelerating and after years of giving content away online the newspaper companies are planning moves to subscription models - a change that APN News & Media, publisher of the NZ Herald and nzherald.co.nz, has said will be in place by the middle of the year.

There are clearly some risks in going first, and it requires a commitment to providing a superior product to competitors.

APN has divested itself of many of its magazine titles and has been actively researching a subscription model for some time.

Across the Tasman, Fairfax has been at the forefront of the move but appears to have put the project on the back burner in this country.

One key issue for both publishers will be how loose to set the meter for "free" articles so that casual users still visit and advertising revenue is protected.

The risk is that if the setting is too low - if there is too much content for free - people will not be concerned about losing unlimited access and will make do without subscribing.

Another issue will be whether consumers make do with free sites including state-owned media such as - TVNZ and RNZ - that are not under pressure to make a commercial return.

Overseas, private sector media companies like News Limited have complained bitterly about the free status of taxpayer funded news websites such as those for the Australian Broadcasting Commission and the BBC in Britain.

Whatever happens, the move will mean a radical change to the way that people consume media and the message for all media is that doing nothing is not an option.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

John Drinnan has been a business journalist for twenty years, he has been editor of the specialist film and television title "Screen Finance" in London, focussing on the European TV and film industry. He has been writing about media in New Zealand since the deregulation of the television industry in the late 1980s.

Read more by John Drinnan

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 28 Aug 2016 07:59:51 Processing Time: 661ms