Herald announces digital subscription model for premium content

NZ Herald has announced pricing for it’s ‘premium’ digital subscription – $5 per week, although a ‘special introductory offer’ will be offered next week when the premium content launches.

That’s $260 a year, quite a bit for part of one media company’s content. It’s a risk, especially if the free content is watered down too much and keeps promoting so much trivial click bait content.

This has been a long time coming, it has been talked about for years.

NZ Herald launches digital subscriptions for premium journalism, reveals pricing

NZME will become the first major New Zealand media business to unveil digital subscriptions – costing $5 a week, with a special introductory offer to be announced next week.

While much of the content on nzherald.co.nz will remain free, digital subscribers will access a range of premium content across business, politics, news, sport, lifestyle and entertainment including indepth investigations, exclusive reports, columns and analysis. There will also be more foreign, premium content from a range of internationally renowned mastheads.

I can get all the international news and analysis I want now.

People who have five-, six- or seven-day subscriptions to the NZ Herald or one of NZME’s five regional newspapers – the Northern Advocate, Bay of Plenty Times, Rotorua Daily Post, Hawke’s Bay Today and Whanganui Chronicle – will have automatic access to premium content. Print subscribers will be contacted next week with details of how to activate their digital subscription.

So it’s free for newspaper subscribers – for now at least.

They say it will help support ‘quality journalism’ and will provide ‘indepth analysis and insight’. If it allows them to do more of this that will be a good thing, provided they get sufficient subscriptions to keep funding it.

One problem with important investigations being limited subscriptions is that it will limit the impact.  The glare of publicity can sometimes impact on negative things that have been happening or have been done, and that publicity will be reduced if limited to subscription content.

I presume they will promote summaries or teasers of premium content so people know what they might be missing out on.


On a related matter – three years ago my household decided to drop our ODT print subscription, because we found we were hardly reading it, and could get sufficient news online.

Last year we restarted our ODT subscription. We found we missed it, especially for local (Dunedin and Otago) news, and also information about what was happening in the area. It does a good job generally on local news, and we felt it was worth supporting. And we are reading it more now – there’s something about flicking the large paper pages and browsing.

This is one reason why I won’t be subscribing to the Herald online.

The ODT republishes some Herald content – I wonder if this will continue and will include premium content?

Stuff – no paywall but pay for premium?

Stuff report on their own plans to try and make some money out of online content – Stuff looks at premium membership.

Fairfax Media’s news website stuff.co.nz may not be considering a paywall, but options to offer a premium membership service to New Zealand online readers are “really quite exciting”, says Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood.

I’m really excited to know what the difference is between a paywall and paying for “a premium membership service”.

NBR and the Listener already run models that involve partial public access with more being available to paying subscribers.

A major problem with this approach is that their best content is the least accessible. Most people choose not to pay, they simply look elsewhere, so ‘premium’ journalism gets a greatly reduced audience.

And worse – their best stories get picked up by other media who get much wider coverage offering it for free. The New Zealand news market is very small.

But maybe they aren’t talking about paying for news.

New Zealand chief executive Simon Tong was looking at a membership model and monetising the audience in different ways.

“That’s something Simon and his team are working up,” said Hywood.

“You can provide a whole range of services to members. It’s really up to your imagination and your ability to produce product.”

And that product has to compete with the wide variety of free products available online.

The only subscription service I pay for is Consumer, and I’m about to stop that as I get little from them that I can’t get elsewhere (their pay content offers too little value).

Perhaps Stuff can move to magazine/entertainment.celebrity type pay content, that’s where most interest and least thought about value seems to be. MacMedia sort of stuff.