The Sun newspaper has introduced a paywall for its website. First announced in March, it made its debut on August 1st, after Rupert Murdoch insisted that free access to news sites was “untenable”.
Previously completely free, the new online version, which has been called Sun+, will cost subscribers £2 per week. That works out £1.20 cheaper than the printed version.
The move sees The Sun follow The Times, which is also owned by News UK, and The Daily Telegraph, both of which have introduced restrictions to their websites.
In order to attract subscribers, the paid-for version will come with additional features. In the case of Sun+, it is hoped that subscribers will be attracted by Premier League goal videos. Other offers will also be added to the package as time goes on.
However, according to a number of commentators, what will attract people to pay will be well written and entertaining content – which, going by its popularity, it seems to provide pretty successfully already.
The presenter of the BBC Radio 4 Media Show, Steve Hewlett, said:
“Quite a lot of The Sun’s content is not strictly news, it’s more entertainment.”
It is something that companies hosting their own website newsfeeds should have already learned from. With well-written and entertaining content on offer, consumers are more likely to take an interest.
Presently, The Sun enjoys a daily print circulation of 2.3 million. Before the paywall, its website had around 1.7 million visitors each day. It is not yet clear how many early subscribers there have been.