Three more websites to charge for content

Emap’s Architects’ Journal: no longer free

The Architects’ Journal, Construction News and New Civil Engineer are this week joining a growing trend among magazines by charging for access to online content.

Users of the three Emap construction magazines’ websites will be charged £80 a year for access to news, features and archives. But subscribers to the magazines will be able to buy a subscription to the site for only £29.

The sites’ news content will double to 20 stories a day to coincide with the introduction of the charges and 10 more years of articles will be added to the archive. Content will go live on the day of publication. Previously it was posted one week after the magazines were published.

Ross Sturley, Emap’s construction marketing director, said that the introduction of charges was inevitable and agreed it was a risk being one of the first in the industry to do so.

Sturley said: "The three sites are in break-even positions, which is nice and better than a lot of places, but not good business.

"We’ve created sites that are clearly frequently visited –  more than half of our 50,000 users visit more than four times a month. We’re now about to test whether the construction sector is ready to pay for information online."

He added: "Research indicates that it will, but I have done research before that didn’t turn out to be foolproof."

Careers in Construction, the company’s profitable jobs site, remains free to users. The Construction Plus network, launched in January 2000, has nine sites.

l Emap’s FHM is also charging for content on its fhm.com site. Users are asked to pay £1 a month for access to the High Street Honeys section, which carries pictures sent in by female readers or girlfriends of readers.

The project was started in the magazine, but there was an overwhelming response and more than 800 pictures have now been put online.

More than 8,000 users have subscribed since it launched three weeks ago.

Editor Chris Mooney said: "We were looking for ways to charge for content, and we haven’t had anything that we could charge for before because people were used to getting it free. If content is unique and out of the ordinary then we’ll be looking to do this again."

By Mary Stevens

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