News Ltd Is Making A Huge Play In Subscriptions For Online News

Getty/Cameron Spencer

A digital news subscription service that will be watched keenly by the global media industry launches in Australia next week.

Readers of two of the biggest news brands in the country will be asked to register and ultimately pay to access digital news content as part of a huge subscription play by Australia’s biggest media company, News Ltd, the local arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

News Ltd chief executive Kim Williams announced the plan this morning – the full statement is below.

Kim Williams. Photo: Getty/Robert Cianflone

Subscribers will gain access to a bundle of products under the newly created news+ brand, which will ultimately be a pool of News Ltd’s vast suite of content from its Australian newspaper network and lifestyle titles.

The first brands to introduce the subscription system will be Melbourne’s Herald Sun and Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

The metering system will work like this:

  • Readers will get access to five free articles a week before being asked to register
  • Registered readers will be able to access a further 10 articles on the Herald Sun and a further 15 a week on the Daily Telegraph

Further access will require users to buy a digital subscription, at a starting price of a dollar for the first four weeks and $4 after that – just over $200 a year.

The company will also offer extremely cheap newspaper subscriptions bundled with the digital deal – chipping in just an extra $5 a week will give digital subscribers seven-day newspaper delivery.

Broadsheet titles like the WSJ, The Australian and the NYT have successfully started building digital subscriber bases, but News Ltd is breaking new ground in asking readers to pay for the content of mass-circulation tabloids packaged up with sports and lifestyle brands.

Here’s the full text of the announcement.

The chief executive officer of News Limited, Kim Williams, today announced the launch of a new digital subscription service for The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun together with a fresh addition: news+, a product enhancement to support the company’s rollout of digital subscription products across its network.

The launch includes the integration of content from FOX SPORTS with News’ masthead sports content and an enhanced ability to serve local audiences with targeted content which meets specific interests and needs. The new subscription products will offer enhanced local content to subscribers in a range of completely renovated digital sites with exclusive sports content and a new metered subscription model for access to those key mastheads.

Consumers will be able to choose from a number of subscription offers, including a variety of print and digital bundles or digital only. Subscribers will get full access to their local masthead website, mobile site and tablet app as well as News’ complete national network, including FOX SPORTS content as part of a multi-platform subscription product experience.

On May 16, The Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun online will be the first sites to implement new product offers incorporating news+. In June AdelaideNow and The Courier-Mail online will launch, followed with other new offers over time.

The new masthead digital subscription products for the Herald Sun and The Daily Telegraph incorporating news+ will utilise a metered model allowing consumers to access a number of news articles in a given time period at no charge. Registering with the site will allow access to an additional number of articles, while paid subscription will enable full access across a richer diversity of content than has ever been offered in Australia before. Models will vary slightly across Australia, in accordance with each local market. Some premium sports content will only be accessible by subscribers.

Mr Williams said: “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.

“The new masthead digital subscription services with news+ ensure subscribers will have access to their local masthead with enhanced local content as well as to our entire national news, lifestyle, business and sport network, delivered across all the devices they love. We are giving consumers the richest diversity of content from a source they trust, in a form convenient and relevant to contemporary lifestyles and technologies.

“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.

“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.”

In conjunction with the introduction of the new digital masthead subscription products with news+, News Limited has invigorated its online and mobile sites with fresh designs.

Mr Williams said: “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.

“We aim to deliver consumers a satisfying experience which will evolve and improve as it responds to regular feedback,” Mr Williams added.

Mr Williams said that the new digital masthead subscription products with news+ will also give advertisers the best audience segmentation in market. “Our data capabilities are enhanced with these new digital subscription products. With a better understanding of our consumers, we can deliver advertisers more relevant and targeted editorial environments for their campaigns.”

Mr Williams concluded: “Today’s announcement heralds a bright future for the longevity of content publishing across all platforms – print, online, tablet and mobile. Delivering fine journalism across diverse content domains, in interesting environments, that facilitate debate, conversations and discussions among Australians is what News aims to provide in ways which are aligned with consumer wants and needs. The launch of these new digital subscription products for The Daily Telegraph and the Herald Sun with all that is contained in news+ will be central to our future in the Australian media landscape.”

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.