Remember The Telegraph introduced an online paywall and subscription plans last year for non-UK readers? Well, that’s now being rolled out for its home-grown readers too.
As the Telegraph reports, from today it’s extending its Web subscriptions to its domestic market too. Readers who don’t subscribe will now only be able to access twenty articles a month for free via its website at telegraph.co.uk.
F**k it, we'll do it live!
To go beyond that limit, readers will be “invited” to choose between two digital subscriptions – its Web Pack, which offers unlimited Web and smartphone access to the Telegraph’s digital content for £1.99 a month. Or, there’s a full ‘Digital Pack’ which throws the tablet editions into the mix for £9.99 a month.
If you’re a real glutton for the Telegraph, you can cough up £30.37 a month to have print copies delivered in addition to the full digital offering.
So, from today if you want to read the Telegraph online, you will be offered a one month free trial to get the ball rolling, after which you’ll need to cough up at least £1.99 a month to access more than 20 articles.
If you want to pay annually, you can get the Web Pack for £20/year, while the Digital Pack will set you back £99.99 for 12-months up front and the Print Pack will cost £364.
The Telegraph’s decision to take its website behind a paywall in its home market perhaps doesn’t come as the biggest surprise. The publication has long been rumored to be mulling a metered model in the UK, which would bring it in line with the likes of the Financial Times and The New York Times.
Throw into the mix the fact that most mainstream print news outlets are struggling to stay afloat on advertising revenue alone, well, this is the obvious route to go. Perhaps the only real surprise here is that it hasn’t happened sooner.
The Telegraph first went down the subscription route back in May 2011 with the launch of a new subscription-based iPad app. It was thought at the time it was readying itself for a full subscription model across the digital board, but that didn’t happen as quickly as many imagined.
The Telegraph has also been dabbling in other monetization models of late. Last year, it was one of the first publications to sign up to the AP’s online video hub, serving up 24/7 live news coverage. This meant that its existing three-camera studio was able to stream directly to the Web as a story breaks. And, used in conjunction with a series of new content deals, this offered the Telegraph’s digital subscribers access to key live events as they unfold.
So this is a big step forward for the Telegraph into the digital realm. It will have to work hard to innovate and bring added value for readers to be willing to pay for what was once completely free content.
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