ODT reveals paywall for local news - Crux commits to free, quality coverage

Sep 02, 2022

Allied Press, the company behind the Otago Daily Times, the Mountain Scene, and The News - Central Otago and Wānaka, has announced plans to charge readers for online local news from the end of September.

In an announcement of the plan yesterday, the company says breaking news, and national and world stories will remain free.

"But some of the exclusive stories produced by ODT journalists will be only available to subscribers.”

Allied Press has plans to put some of its online local news stories by regional reporters behind a paywall from the end of the month.

The charge for reading the Otago Daily Times stories online will be $14.95 per month or $194.35 a year if paid annually in advance, according to the Allied Press website.

Allied Press made public plans for a paywall five years ago, but failed to go ahead with the move.

Crux managing editor Peter Newport says Crux local news content will remain free of charge to readers.

“These are tough times for journalism in New Zealand. Crux will continue to rely on the voluntary support of readers joining our membership programme, as well as donations and income from digital advertising.

“Like Allied Press, Crux does receive support via the Public Interest Journalism Fund, but there is no guarantee that fund will continue beyond 2023.

“We believe our brand of strong local news coverage will continue to dominate the local news market with Crux journalists holding power to account in a way that no other platforms do.

“Crux is doing more than any other local news platform in New Zealand to develop sustainable business models that will survive what promises to be a challenging but exciting future.

"Charging readers for local news is a model that has had only mixed success overseas, and our research suggests that New Zealand local towns lack the critical mass to allow such models to work.”

The Crux membership model allows readers to pay whatever they can afford, at a time and frequency that suits them. Crux plans to offer a variety of benefits to Members, but core local news content will remain free to everyone.

The full Allied Press announcement is here.

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