The scheme has long been anticipated and is part of a strategy to develop new revenue streams. Current subscribers will automatically join the scheme as part of their package. It offers a free trial until 31 August for any reader that registers online.and annual membership for non-subscribers after that date will be £25.
Rival publisher News International has already launched Times+ for readers of The Times at an annual cost of £50.
The Extra scheme is designed to allow readers of the Guardian, The Observer and guardian.co.uk to get closer to its journalism at regular and exclusive live events, background briefings from experts, and exclusive offerings.
It will also develop special offers with partners, including the V&A, National Portrait Gallery, Eden Project, Alastair Sawday’s Travel Club, English National Opera, and Tate Britain.
Members will be given access to the Guardian/Observer’s offices in Kings Place, with special access to the papers’ editors and the newsroom, plus interviews and events involving senior journalists.
Recently appointed GNM head of membership Richard Thompson says “We are an extremely successful brand with a committed, loyal readership online and in print, so it makes sense for us to harness this and reward that loyalty by enabling readers to become more involved and engaged in the ground-breaking things we are doing as a paper”.
“Extra will be different from traditional newspaper membership schemes in that events and activities will be truly reflective of the Guardian and The Observer’s editorial coverage. It will provide us with a unique opportunity to explore many areas of mutual interest. It is about strengthening our most important relationship, our readership, and in turn providing a range of benefits that they wouldn’t get elsewhere.”
A dedicated web page will showcase offers, events and competitions for members and there will also be a dedicated Extra section in both The Guardian and The Observer each week.