Guardian News & Media mulls PaidContent paywall

Guardian News & Media is considering introducing paid-for access to PaidContent, its digital media news news website.

The site is currently surveying readers about a range of alternative services and suggesting a price of up to £249 a year for a readers to access its content online.

Caroline Little, chief executive of Guardian America, told Press Gazette the company did not have any specific plans but was exploring possibilities for New York-based PaidContent.

She said: “We have thought about the possibility of charging for some of our content on PaidContent.org, but the first thing we wanted to do was hear from our readers.”

The survey indicates that a number of options are being looked at. Brand Republic highlighted yesterday some of the suggested pricing models being put to readers, including a single user price of around £249 but also unlimited articles for ten user licenses for £939 per year.

The survey says: “ContentNext Media – parent of PaidContent.org – is considering moving over to a new Premium Subscription Service for their publications.

“As you currently use paidContent.co.uk, we would like to understand your opinions on our new service.”

According to questions in the survey, PaidContent is also considering launching a paid-for mobile service with an app.

Guardian News & Media had recent success launching an iPhone app for its Guardian.co.uk website priced at £2.39 – it has since claimed that was downloaded just under 70,000 times in its first month.

Despite the paid-for iPhone app, Guardian News & Media editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger last said the Guardian newspaper had no plans to put up paywalls around its content as a way of tackling its financial difficulties.

“It would be crazy if we were to all jump behind a pay wall and imagine that would solve things,” he was quoted saying by Journalism.co.uk.

Last week accounts filed by Guardian News and Media revealed that it paid £4m for PaidContent in 2008 – rather than the £15m ($30m) which has previously been reported.

The larger figure, which was widely quoted at the time, was dependent on the highest possible future performance figures for the blog-based media business news site -started by journalist and web entrepreneur Rafat Ali.

Ali posted messages on Twitter yesterday saying the site [PaidContent] wasn’t “going paid” but considering “if we shld look at it & may not go down that path. Who knows?”

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