McCarthy: Fairfax paywall ‘has to happen’

FAIRFAX Media is set to adopt a paid-content model for its online news after chief executive Brian McCarthy admitted it is a change that “will have to happen”.

Although Mr McCarthy didn’t specificy a timeline for changes, it appears Fairfax and major competitor News Ltd will make the ‘paywall’ switch within a similar timeframe, with News Ltd’s ultimate boss Rupert Murdoch revealing last week that News Corp will start rolling out its company-wide strategy for online charges by June next year.

Mr McCarthy told the Sunday Age a two-tiered model mixing free, mass content with paid, “upmarket, high quality” information could work for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald websites, as well as that of the soon-to-be-launched nationaltimes.com.au.

“Monetisation will have to happen, because without monetisation of the online sites that the newspaper industries have operated very successfully, we can’t afford to keep the big newsroom staffs we have,” he said.

”We’re certainly getting the [online] traffic. We’re getting the advertising, but it’s not a user-paid model in terms of the reader.”

With News Corp’s paywall plans well publicised, Mr McCarthy has now answered the question of whether Fairfax would also start to charge online or perhaps try to attract more traffic in competitive markets if readers chase free news in the wake of News’ strategy.

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One Response to “McCarthy: Fairfax paywall ‘has to happen’”

  1. Shift focus to reader revenue, says PwC report « PANPA News Says:

    […] will have to focus more on the latter source of income to be successful. This shift is reflected in moves by News Corp and Fairfax Media to charge for online news, which has been predominantly given away for free until […]

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