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Fairfax Australia kicks off paywalls this month

Fifteen dollars a month. That’s what overseas readers will need to pay for access to stories on The Age and Sydney Morning Herald websites following the launch of a paywall later this month.

Fairfax Australia, which owns the two metro papers, says the paywalls come into effect on 26 March for North America, Europe and the Middle East.

This overseas barrier will be followed by paywalls for Australia, New Zealand and other Asia Pacific countries in the middle of the year.

The two websites will use a metering system where readers have access to 10 articles per month for overseas readers and a yet unconfirmed number for the domestic market.

The AUD$15 per month subscription gives unlimited access, but there’s no details for domestic costs yet. Fairfax says print subscribers will automatically receive full digital access.

Fairfax New Zealand which owns Stuff.co.nz, Dominion Post and The Press, has not released information if it’s to follow suit.

Fairfax NZ often runs its business at a different pace to its trans-Tasman mothership. It’s not necessarily a case of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Following the initial paywall announcement last year (at the same time as the laying off of 1900 staff in Australia), Fairfax NZ CEO Allen Williams told the NBR that there were no plans to install paywalls here.

“Two different markets, in two different timeframes,” he says.

But after a 7.2 percent drop in New Zealand’s newspaper advertising revenue last year, it might not be long before Williams reconsiders his position.

StopPress has asked Fairfax NZ for further comment.

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