Telegraph explores paid online content options

Telegraph Media Group is drawing up plans for an online metered subscription model or micropayments to bolster existing revenue streams, reports FT.com.

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TMG, which has previously championed free content online, is understood to be drawing up plans for paid content models for introduction by next summer.

The source of the information has denied the plans are a u-turn on its previous free-content stance, citing its current view as a “process of evolution”.

A TMG spokesperson, however, played down the report, saying: “Absolutely no decisions have been made on the introduction of a paid-content model. Like all publishers, TMG continually evaluates the developments in the digital sector.”

The Telegraph is the latest general news title to look at ways of testing appetite for paying for online content.

Earlier this month, The Guardian, Mail Online and The Independent, all advocates of free content, launched paid-subscription apps, underlining an industry-wide shift to find ways of delivering digital content that consumers will pay for. Current industry understanding is that consumers are more willing to pay for content through apps.

Independent digital MD Zach Leonard recently told said that titles had to offer readers value either through design, functionality, portability or convenience.

Differentiation through comment wasn’t enough, he said.

In October, Mirror Group indicated that it was exploring the appetite for paid content by building loyalty through social gaming.

The publisher, which has traditionally been opposed to paywalls, said that while it wouldn’t charge for “ubiquitous news”, which sites like the BBC provide for free, it was looking into a range of options for growth, including testing appetite for paid-for content around its sport and entertainment verticals, 3am and Mirror Football.

The Telegraph recorded 33.9m monthly and 1.72m average daily browsers – incidents of the application through which web access is recorded – according to the latest ABCE audit for October.

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk

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