Today 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.
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.
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?