Will NZME implement a paywall?
The answer is probably yes. The reasons are varied, but one reason is that they think they have got their model right and it will be successful. Or at least APN their parent company thinks that way.
Publishers across the world are at a crossroads. There are two alternatives they face at this point: pull up stumps after investing in expensive paid content strategies deciding they’ve hit a barrier they can’t get over, or hold their nerve and look to break the subscriptions ceiling that confronts many of them?
If there was one moment that stood out at the International News Media Association (INMA) 2015 World Congress this week it was when Australian moderator, and former Sydney Morning Herald editor, Robert Whitehead polled the room full of top media executives, from around the world, on their support for paywalls.
Whitehead first asked everyone who had a paywall to stand and, in a room of 200-300 people, maybe 75 per cent stood up.
He then asked (without naming anyone) for those who didn’t think their paywall was working for them to sit. Around a third of those standing sat.
Whitehead then polled the room again asking those who had reservations or who would not recommend paywalls to another publisher to sit, leaving only those “who thought they were doing it really well”. This left only around ten newspaper executives standing.
Those left standing (and yes for the record: News, Fairfax and APN were all in the room) were representatives from the big media brands of the world: The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
Media brands with a deep reach who have achieved mass audience and are making it pay on the basis of their global audience.