Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Telegraph to launch metered paywall that will leave site free for UK readers, but charge international readers

The Telegraph is taking the usual metered paywall and flipping it on its head. Instead of launching a metered paywall that would effect its more frequent readers, it is instead instituting a paywall designed to charge only its infrequent readers – and since it is a metered paywall, it is hard to see exactly who will end up paying.

Both The Guardian and are reporting this morning (actually, afternoon U.K. time) that The Telegraph will be launching a metered paywall where international readers would have access to 20 articles per month before being required to pay £1.99 a month for access to the website and its mobile apps. U.K. readers, meanwhile, would still have access to the website free of charge.

"From 1 November, the Telegraph is extending its subscriber offer to its international website readers by adopting a metering approach similar to the model currently used by the New York Times," The Telegraph is reported to have said in its announcement.'

It's a strange way to go about building a paywall. I suppose one could say that the approach will probably do no harm, though. International readers, who are generally casual readers, will either not hit the article limit or else fade away, while domestic readers won't be effected. No wonder the paper is not promoting the paywall on its website – either the reports are wrong, or even The Telegraph see the new paywall as a nonevent.

In fact, the subscription page of The Telegraph currently mentions unlimited website access being included in the paper's Mobile Pack digital subscription option for both domestic and international readers. This page either needs to be updated or better yet deleted and rethought out.