Haymarket Media Group is to introduce digital subscriptions across its marketing and communications publications from this summer.
Haymarket will implement what it calls a “metered” pricing model for its MediaWeek, Marketing, Campaign, PRWeek and Brand Republic websites from this summer. This will involve the following three tiers:
- Premium Access: full online access to all titles, plus a printed edition of one print magazine
- Online Access: full access to all digital resources and archived materials, including all Brand Republic Group titles
- Print Access: buy a subscription to a single print magazine
Haymarket publishes business media in 9 countries across five continents, including the US, Australia, Germany, India and Hong Kong. But the introduction of this paywall will mainly affect its UK-centric marketing and communications websites.
Brand Republic Group’s editor-in-Chief, Danny Rogers, said:
“This move will allow us to invest in the journalism and product development to maintain our leadership position in the digital age, and to deliver improved services to our readers. It is also a big step on the path to establishing our reputation as the ‘BBC of Brands’ – an unrivaled and indispensable resource for all marketing and communications professionals.”
The great paywall debate has divided opinions. On the one hand, people have become accustomed to consuming free content, subsidized by advertising. But on the other, publications are increasingly looking for ways to increase their profits from digital channels, as print-based publication sales fall.
We reported earlier this month that The Sun newspaper wasn’t introducing a paywall for its website, and that would seem to make sense given that there are serious questions about whether people would pay for gossipy tittle-tattle.
But with a reported 80,000 subscribers to the digital versions of the Times/Sunday Times, there is an argument that people are prepared to pay for quality insights and analysis from journalists.
Similarly, the Financial Times (FT) and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) – both specialist international business titles – have introduced subscriptions for their online content, proof perhaps that paywalls can work away from the main national news publications.
In the short-term, Haymarket’s move could mean that it loses readership to other existing online publications that aren’t yet charging. But as more websites opt for the paid approach, it should start to even itself out across the board. This will, however, also mean that the quality of the digital reading experience will have to be enhanced across its digital platforms, to justify the introduction of this new pricing model.