On 1st May, NZME introduced a paywall to the NZ Herald website where consumers can gain access to premium content through a subscription model. An introductory rate of $2.50 per week (subject to change) applies, and current print subscription holders receive an automatic subscription to the premium digital content. This means that there is already an audience base of potentially 70,000 people.
The paywall introduction has received mixed reviews and despite some negative feedback in other media, the stats show that the mobile audience has remained unchanged with no issues across daily audience numbers. The desktop audience saw one of the highest spikes of the year on launch day and has since balanced out, with page impressions remaining stable.
Additionally, NZME has seen a strong initial digital subscription uptake, with the 12-month-period subscription being the most popular option. While the paywall is still in its initial launch phase, NZME are determined to ensure that non-subscription site traffic remains strong and are making tweaks where necessary for subscribers and non-subscribers to continue receiving a valuable experience across the NZ Herald website.
However, Stuff is reporting an increase in average daily unique browsers since the Herald’s paywall introduction, so there may be an element of competitor trial occurring as NZ Herald’s traditional audience base explore their digital news options.
As to whether Stuff will follow suit? That’s highly unlikely in the short-term, as they’re still officially ‘on the market’ and unlikely to make any drastic changes to their offering until they’re under new ownership.