South Africa: Pay to Read - Most Media Companies Think It's the Future


As more online advertising revenue goes the way of internet giants like Google and Facebook, online news companies are searching for other income streams with many reverting to charging for news - as they did back when you still bought newspapers.

Like the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times as well as South Africa's BDLIve, Mail & Guardian and Biznews publications, News24 has introduced a subscription service on its in-depth news and analysis, a strategy it calls "Freemium".

Breaking news, which is largely commoditised, will remain outside of the R75 per month subscription.

The new model was introduced on 8 August 2020 and while no take-up numbers have been disclosed (yet), News24 editor Adriaan Basson says he is pleased with the response from readers:

"Our expectations have been exceeded. The positivity from readers and community has been encouraging."

Three or four years ago, virtually no media house charged for online news, with perhaps the exception of the New York Times, FT and Wall Street Journal. Now, the majority of online sites do - in one form or another.

Free to read sites like Moneyweb require membership to access archived content.

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