It is time for Stuff to bite the bullet and introduce a proper paywall for some of its online content.
It is now the odd one out among the New Zealand newspaper companies that have seen their paid circulation and advertising revenue decimated by the Internet.
NZME’s premium service for the New Zealand Herald is three years old and Allied Press, publisher of the Otago Daily Times, has announced it will charge for premium content by the end of the month.
The Herald’s paywall has been a success story. NZME now has 100,000 digital only subscribers paying between $149 and $199 a year. While its earnings are still no match for the revenue derived from print subscriptions, they are going up while newspaper sales go down.
NZME’s first half results this year showed digital subscription revenue of almost $8 million, an increase of 54 per cent on the same period last year. The numbers were enhanced, of course, by the acquisition of BusinessDesk last November, which added 8000 subscribers. Nonetheless, both volume and revenue has been rising steadily since 2019.
It was understandable that Stuff might take a wait-and-see approach when NZME announced parts of the Herald were going behind a paywall but any uncertainty over the wisdom of such a move should now have evaporated. Continue reading “It’s time for Stuff to add its bricks to the paywall”