Yesterday, Politiken.dk publicly announced the goal of reaching 100,000 paying digital subscribers in 2017. According to MediaWatch, politiken.dk currently have approximately 18,000 digital subscribers. Some of these (we don’t know how many) subscribe through a bundled phone subscription from telecom provider Telmore that also includes HBO Nordic, Mofibo, Ekstra Bladet’s EKSTRA, and others.
Politiken.dk’s metered model of digital subscription was introduced in May, 2013. Here, audiences had free access to 25 articles per month – after that, they would have to pay 44 DKK in monthly subscription. Earlier this year, the digital subscription was adjusted to cost 66 DKK monthly and only have 15 articles free of charge.
Today, Århus Stiftstidende announced that they had softened their hard paywall and switched their digital subscription to the metered model. In the future, users will have access to 10 articles free of charge each month before they are charged 79 DKK. This concrete subscription model is similar to the one used by Berlingske, the main news website of Berlingske Media that also owns Århus Stiftstidende.
That change was already announced last September and is not surprising as the news website has suffered severe traffic losses from the implementation of digital subscription back in November, 2012. Compared to October, 2012, the latest statistics from Danske Medier Research/Gemius (December, 2013) shows
- a 62.7 percent drop in users (from 78,104 to 29,157),
- a 71.1 percent drop in visits (from 575,402 to 166,153), and
- a 72.4 percent drop in page views (from 2,754,062 to 760,804).
With such numbers, it’s hardly surprising that the hard paywall is now softened and replaced by the metered model. The question remains how free access - though limited – to content on the news website will affect traffic statistics.
It’s certainly a question I’ll return to later here on the blog; from a research perspective, Århus Stiftstidende now constitutes a most interesting opportunity for following and measuring in real-time the consequences of adjusting digital subscription.