News of the World paywall planned for October launch

News International is to put News of the World content behind a paywall by October, with The Sun to follow.

Read this week’s cover story ’Great media experiment becomes a balancing act’ about the debate over free content vs paid content, click here

News of the World’s transition to a paid content model will hinge on exclusive video content, distributed across an overhauled site and app.

An introductory rate is expected for the first month, promoted via a high-profile marketing campaign.

Engine-owned WCRS, News of the World’s lead creative agency, and Glue Isobar are understood to be working on supporting campaigns, leveraging News of the World exposés.

Chime’s VCCP Search is also understood to have been appointed to work on a search strategy to drive subscriptions now that News International has withdrawn from conventional news search.

The move is an extension of News International’s paywall strategy, which has already seen The Times and The Sunday Times sites launch subscription models.

News of the World received 1.1m unique visitors in July viewing 14m pages for an average of 8.1 minutes a visit, according to ComScore.

In comparison, The Sun claimed 3.8m unique visitors with an average dwell time of 15 minutes, while online newspaper leader Mail Online claimed 8.9m unique visitors, with an average visit of 25 minutes in July.

The Times’ paywall came into effect on 2 July and although it has seen unique visitors almost halve since, according to ComScore, the decrease isn’t as drastic as some industry observers had previously predicted.

MediaCom managing partner Stefan Bardega said a subscription-only News of the World could be an attractive proposition for advertisers.

“One of the challenges around web and mobile for advertisers is that you can’t track between the two, unless users are registered across both,” he said. “What News of the World could offer is true cross-platform targeting, and that’s very interesting.”

Neither Engine, VCCP nor Glue was available for comment. News International declined to comment.

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