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Business, Economics, Media, Opinion

Paywalls > Did the AFR overcharge?


How much would you pay to access news on the internet?

That’s the question most publishers are grappling with at the moment, and one which the Australian Financial Review had to re-evaluate.

The Fin, as we biz journos affectionately call it, has slashed the price it charges for access to its website.

Admittedly, it was one of the first Australian publications to erect a paywall for its online service which it priced at $1140 per year.

From Monday, that price will be reduced by 40 per cent to $680.

Fin boss, Brett Clegg said that the publication had “had drawn on feedback from staff, the market and key stakeholders that it needed to lower the barriers to its journalism”. The challenge is, how much do you charge consumers to make this information, often quality reporting from experience journalists accessible while still turning a profit? Had The Fin overcharged?

No doubt other print publishers will be looking at this closely. The Australian has only recently erected a paywall, currently in its free trial period while the Sydney Morning Herald and Daily Telegraph are free. But not for much longer.

The question is, how much is the public willing to pay?

Then there’s the issue of apps.

I’m a high user of news apps, and apart from SBS World News Australia, I regularly use The Australian, SMH, Daily Telegraph, Business Spectator and CNBC RT to get my news on my iPad, in addition to the leads I get from the people and organisations I follow on twitter (@ricardoSBS).

Granted many of them have a long way to go, in getting the format right, but at this stage I’m enjoying the SMH’s layout, The Aus’ content, and the sleek look of CNBC.

What I do have an issue with, is the perception that I’m not getting breaking news on my iPad from many of the Australian apps, which defeats the purpose of the 3G capability of my device. I may as well just go back to the online versions of the publications instead of the app.

That’s where I’ll have to re-evaluate whether it’s worth the $7.99 per month for the iPad version of The Daily Telegraph for example, even if the iPad version is touted as more of a content/multi-media enriched version of its print brother.




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