News International's News of the World plans to move its content behind a paywall beginning in October, with the company's tabloid The Sun set to follow, MarketingWeek.co.uk reported today.
Following the recent implementation of The Times' paywall on July 2, the move by the News International group is an extension of its subscription model approach.
The news title's transition to a payment gateway rests on exclusive video content distributed across an overhauled site and app, with an introductory rate expected for the first month.
The subscription model could mean an attractive proposition for advertisers: "the challenges around web and mobile for advertisers is that you can't track between the two, unless users are registered across both," Stefan Bardega, MediaCom managing partner told MarketingWeek. "What News of the World could offer is true cross-platform targeting, and that's very interesting."
According to the latest comScore figures, the NOTW website received 1.1 million unique visitors in July with 14 million page views for an average of 8.1 minutes a visit, which means 250,000 for every issue. Meanwhile, the four print editions of NOTW in July brought an average of 2.89 million people, more than the online audience of the free website, MediaGuardian reported.
The Sun had 3.8 million unique visitors in July and sold about three million print copies, according to comScore findings, which suggests that the current web usage on both these News International titles are already poor despite no payment gateway. Erection of paywall on these titles can prove counter-productive, MediaGuardian's Roy Greenslade stated.
However, print readers could make up a majority of online visitors; if that is the case, it would suggest raising a paywall could mean the site would continue serving its most loyal readers.
Having withdrawn itself from the conventional news search, the group has been working on a search strategy to encourage subscriptions on its news sites in association with Chime's VCCP Search, according to MarketingWeek. The NOTW's lead creative agency, WCRS and Glue Isobar, will be working on high-profile marketing campaigns to promote the site offerings.