Fairfax investigates paywall alternatives

Fairfax Media has reportedly brought in global business consulting leader McKinsey & Co to evaluate the alternatives for erecting paywalls on the website of its major daily newspapers The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald as News Corp’s Herald Sun instigates a partial paywall today using its crime and specialist AFL coverage as lures.

Content on both the Fairfax sites is free at present, giving the websites the biggest audiences of any Australian broadsheets.

The Australian Financial Review reported today that its publisher, Fairfax Media, is “considering all options” for the future of its online news sites.

Since The Australian went behind a paywall last October its traffic has declined by about 25%.

Newly-appointed News Corp CEO Kim Williams oversaw the growth of pay television in Australia over the last few years as Foxtel’s chief executive.

Fairfax’s AFR was behind the world’s most expensive paywall, with subscriptions costing more than $1300 a year, but the pricing model was changed last year, resulting in more sign-ups.

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