Zimpapers embraces digital with new online platforms

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Zimpapers News HubToday the country’s largest news and print media house, Zimpapers, launched an online media platform for all its titles. Under the name Zimpapers News Hub, it offers access to complete copies of the Zimpapers publications and it¬†will be available for a $10 monthly subscription.

Accompanying the news hub was the launch of an online sports news platform called Sportszone. This is meant to offer more detailed news and information on local and international sports by leveraging on the advantages of a digital format.

Sportszone Zimbabwe

Right now users can access the Zimpapers News Hub service on a one week free trial and thereafter pay for the monthly subscription through a sign up for a new account on the site. Sportszone offers free content.

The existing websites for each of the titles under the Zimpapers News Hub will still be active, something that will likely take some traction off this new platform. These traditional sites already command a strong following, suggesting that the readership is more than comfortable with the content being delivered there, without being swayed to pay an extra $10 for more material.

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The $10 is payable via EcoCash, telecash, Zimswitch, MasterCard and VISA (all thanks to Paynow) with a Nettcash payment option as well. Oddly enough parastatal cousin OneWallet isn’t represented as a payment option here.

This is not the first time that a local media house has introduced a paywall for its digital content. Prior to the launch of this platform BH24, also a Zimpapers product albeit with a focus on business news, already had a subscription based model for its content.

It is however, the first time that an entire stable of local publications will be available on a subscription model. This business model has been tried in developed markets and has been sighted as a sign of the inevitable shift from print to digital.In Africa one of the more visible implementations of this model has been by the Nation Media Group from East Africa.

At best this will prompt other strong advocates of offline media and advertising to appreciate the looming presence of digital delivery. For Zimpapers this is something that has been on its radar for a while now. In its last half year financial results digital media contributed 4% to its revenue which translates to $840,000 in six months.

It remains to be seen if other media houses like Alpha Media and ANZ will be following suit in the months to come.

What are your thoughts on the new online news platform? Is it worth the $10 monthly subscription? Will you be migrating from the print subscription you already had?

19 Comments

  1. Ronald Munjoma says:

    Waiting for your review of the platform. #twimbos whats your first impression using the platform?

  2. ic0n1c says:

    Gonna try it out right now. I subscribe to businessweek digital publications available on iPad for $30. I am still to see if an annual subscription of $120 is worth the content on the zimpapershub.

  3. Anonymous says:

    tried it but i cant access any of their papers, i can only see the headlines only. Apparently they say we have a week free trial but still its papers are not accessible. Can they explain the reason why it is like this?

    1. Hi Anonymous…

      First thing you do is go to My Account and register. Once you are done, you need to click on the button which says Shop and you pick a bundle. Fill in the form and checkout using any of the options there and your one week free trial begins…!!

      1. Anonymous says:

        thnx kudzai sadomba……the article did not clearly articulate that one can only get the free trial after subscribing the $10 dollar bundle, as they said and i quote “Right now users can access the Zimpapers News Hub service on a one week free trial and thereafter pay for the monthly subscription through a sign up for a new account on the site. “

        1. Ronald Munjoma says:

          I don’t think its about the article, for me its a case of a poorly designed site with a hurriedly launched services which is not ready for the market (in terms of usability and functionality). Everything that I have tested so far, seem not to work.

      2. Ronald Munjoma says:

        Hi Kudzai,

        I went through the process you described above yesterday and still can not access the digital formats. My subscriptions are active, from the home page, when I click the picture of the publication nothing happens. I can not even click the headlines on the right side.

        1. Ronald…

          I have it in good authority that your subscription is indeed active for accessing the Daily papers… So if you clicked on the H-Metro, you definitely not going to see it because you didn’t subscribe for the Tabloids!!! As for any other problems you may be facing, may I suggest that you stop using Windows XP and move onto, preferably Window 7 or a more modern OS as well as upgrading your browser and for best performance, the latest version of Adobe Flash will be great plus in browsers that are progressive and support HTML 5.

          For any other problems… you know where I work… Come see me!!!

          1. Ronald Munjoma says:

            Hi Kudzai,

            Thank you so much for your response, I am subscribed to both services which are both active, but still cannot access any of the digital papers.

            For the record I am not using Windows XP, currently using Windows 7 (not but choice, I still prefer Linux).

            I have the latest and up to date Firefox and Chrome on the machine.

  4. justcurious says:

    why did they choose http://www.zimpapersnewshub.com instead of co.zw? Remember this is a Zimbabwe national news hub.

    1. justcurious…

      “Zimbabwe national news hub”??? Where on earth did you get that??

      http://zimpapersnewshub.com is Zimpapers News Hub… It’s for ZIMPAPERS!! There is nothing really national about it! Zimpapers is a commercial entity… There is nothing in the name, it’s about $$$. But anyway, I have said this before all over on Twitter and I will say it again here… The decision to make the domain .com was arrived at by our marketing as a means of selling the product as an international thing to also cater for the news hungry “11th Province” of Zimbabwe – The Diaspora. As Zimpapers we do love Zimbabwe’s .co.zw TLD and we use it for almost all our publications including The Herald (www.herald.co.zw), The Chronicle (www.chronicle.co.zw) and so forth. What’s in the name? I’m not a marketing guy but as far as .co.zw and .com are concerned, I believe it’s all the same… They are just TLDs except one can only be registered by ZISPA!!!

  5. justcurious says:

    l agree with Ronald l can’t access their site #freetrial.

  6. ADM says:

    The platform is okay – its interesting that they have added more to the advertisements. I’m surprised you guys haven’t picked up on that. They have put some YouTube videos inside some of the ads: I’ve noticed this on Econet and Emirates Airlines ads. The implementation ain’t pretty – its just a shrunken YouTube window slapped right on top of the advert, doesn’t really gel but definitely something progressive. Some other ads that don’t have a YouTube video are still linked to the advertiser’s website. So clicking a Telecel ad for example takes you to the Telecel website. It would be interesting to know whether companies paid extra for all that or if its covered in the usual Zimpapers rate.

    I would have really liked to see a download option. This is still Zimbabwe, which means LOUSY INTERNET SPEED unless you are well heeled. Having to load page-by-page is painful on my ZOL Wimax connection and I don’t imagine its any better on all the powertels and africoms out there. Its still a good starting point. Is it $10 a month good? DON’T THINK SO! Especially if you have DODGY DONGLE internet. They need to add download for that. Would make it a perfect option for job seekers or college students who would benefit for having the newspaper every day but can’t be forking out 60 bucks a month for Chronicle and Herald. But its still a noble effort and it will only get better.

    I also noticed they have a new separate classifieds site http://www.zimpapersclassifieds.co.zw – AGAIN surprised that you guys have made no mention of that too. That deserves its own article, I reckon it could be the first real competitor to webdev’s http://www.classifieds.co.zw domination. It could very well shake up that market.

  7. Falifa says:

    I live outside the country and The Herald is my favourite publication. Had to try this out and I have to say this is not the best offering that could have been put out, maybe this is Zimpapers coming out with a minimum viable product and only planning to improve the UX once there is a large enough subscriber base I don’t know.

    The typesetting is not ideal for digital consumption and the user experience overall is not great but then again I’m Zimbabwean and we are used to consuming sub par products and services and this is a start so I would say kudos. This will be better than the clutterd and buggy Herald.co.zw site and $ 10 for all those papers and mags, great deal.

  8. Falifa says:

    P.S Kudzai Sadomba, if you work for Zimpapers you really need to up your web PR repetoire, you sound like you are representative of them and are genuinely engaging so as to be helpful but really do mind your tone paunopindura anaRonald nevamwe. Really appreciate you offering up details on the product offering.Cheers

    1. justcurious says:

      Thanks falifa, l was shocked by tone,ini ndikati zii.#

  9. chiichi says:

    I really think Zimpapers is just fooling us and want our money for doing very little. I also could not access these sites…and their first had an error on the date. What else is shoddy!!!

  10. jabulisiwe phuti says:

    digital is a way to go.

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