News24’s new digital subscription service will be launched as a ‘freemium’ model as opposed to the metered model on Saturday. This would also majority of the content to be free, including breaking news, but premium content would only be accessible to subscribers.
The move comes as the media industry continues to struggle with different business models while also bracing the impact of retrenchments and salary cuts due to the economic ill-effects on the coronavirus pandemic.
News24 editor Adriaan Basson says:
“The time for trusted journalism is now, specifically during a global crisis where we see many users turning to trusted news publications. This is a big moment for News24 and one that we are very proud and excited about.
“We are not only selling a product; we are holding power to account; we are strengthening democracy.
“Advertising cannot be our only source of income. If we can convince people that the value they are getting out of our product, out of reading our journalism, is good enough to pay for, then we can build a second revenue stream alongside advertising which will see us with even bigger newsrooms in the future.
“For now, the majority of the content will be free as we see what the uptake is from our readers. I know that this is a behavioral change, after 22 years of giving away our content for free we are now asking people to change, and we will remain realistic about that.
“This platform will make comment less toxic and my journalists and I are looking forward to engaging with our readers.”