THE SUN SETS BEHIND A PAYWALL by John Payne

Posted on August 3, 2013

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Today (1st of August) marks the launch of The Sun’s online and mobile pay model as it seeks to follow The Times in monetising its digital proposition beyond advertising.

The 32 million users who browse the news site each month will now be met by a £2-a-week paywall that forms part of the new Sun+ package. Billed by the publisher as ‘a whole new world of digital entertainment’, Sun+ is seeking to be a one-stop shop for popular news and sport as well as offering access to a whole range of other perks. Access to Sun content across desktop, tablet and mobile will only be available to paying users. Such a move clearly differentiates the publisher from its key competitors: Trinity Mirror’s digital content is free to access while Mail Online continues to be a runaway success both in terms of users and ad revenue.untitled

Key to the appeal of Sun+ is exclusive content; securing the rights to Barclays Premier League highlights is a significant coup which may prove fruitful enough to secure subscriptions. Investment in a £3m studio in Wapping further highlights News UK’s commitment to delivering quality content beyond traditional media.

Certainly, it’s been anything but a soft launch. In paper, the digital revolution was met with a wraparound cover of British landmarks followed by a spread setting out the paper’s stance of a range of issues. Sun+ is a key part of News UK’s efforts to re-brand in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal and it represents a brave move. Undoubtedly the site will haemorrhage passing traffic but The Sun will hope that declines in CPMs and display revenue will be offset by guaranteed weekly subscriptions.

Ultimately, quality and breadth of content will determine success. The mix of popular news and celebrity scoops synonymous with The Sun are widely available for free, so Sun+ will rely heavily on the strength of the brand and unique content that no other publisher can provide. News UK will hope that such a bold move demonstrates the public’s appetite for paid online news and pays dividends.

John Payne

Account Director

Posted in: News-Trend