NZ Herald says its inevitable that they will do a pay wall

So, the NZ Herald is going paywall. Eventually.

Appearing on Media3, Mr Currie was asked about rumours that content would be put behind a paywall next year.

"I think see it as inevitable," the editor told host Russell Brown.

"I can't see it not happening," he added.

"We can't go on in the way we are at the moment," Mr Currie said.

Being they haven't written the code yet (I assume), here's what I think they will do, and what I'd actually pay money for.

As a bit of background, I live in the UK, but I'm from New Zealand. The only 2 outlets for general news from New Zealand is the NZ Herald and Stuff / Dominion Post, which is the other daily national newspaper.

This analysis, however, also goes for The Guardian, which is the only other "national" newspaper I read (ie, skim read).

What I think they will do

Charge something ($x) for full access to everything. Just like everyone else does. $x will be very similar to the normal subscription price. If you subscribe, you get digital access for free (tho you have the paper, so why bother? Oh, circulation numbers...)

This is the easy way out. Everyone else does it this way. It requires zero creativity, and nearly zero risk. It's also failed in almost every place it's been tried.

Put a door on the front, and a ticket booth. Job done. This is a model I will not pay for. It appears to be a model that very few people will pay for.

What I want them to do, and I'd actually pay for

Section based segmenting. Charge $y for headlines. $z for sport etc. Let me pick the sections I want, and charge me for that, monthly or annually. It might be $10/month for the service + 1 section (eg headlines), and $3/month for an additional section. Maybe $5/month for the weekend opinion sections.

I can only see the content of those sections, but I can see the headlines of all sections, like the NBR does, which is a nice draw into maybe subscribing to those sections.

In addition, maybe I get N "random" articles a month with my "headlines" subscription, and I can buy more "random" credits if I want them. These random credits mean I can read N articles outside of my subscription area per month.

This fits perfectly with how I read the paper, and I suspect how others do, too: I throw away more than 75% of it. I don't give a damn about sports or entertainment, but I'm sure others do - I want (New Zealand) headlines, business, and weekend opinion, and that's about it.

If I'm forced to buy everything, I'll just go somewhere else - or wait for it to bubble up in the international news media if it's that important.

The Guardian almost did it with their iPhone app, they just didn't get the "charge me for the bits I want" part (they did get the "show me the bits I want" part 100% right tho). Their iPad app, while stunning, is just the dead-tree version in digital form, with the same payment model. There isn't even a "buy a single issue" option, which is a pity as I enjoyed using it, and I prefer to read on the iPad when I'm on holiday, which is about the only time I really sit down and read the paper, not just the headlines.

So, come on NZH - and, and NBR - it's already in sections. Why not try a paywall with more options?

Nic Wise

Nic Wise

Auckland, NZ