NZME's punt on the paywall appears to be paying off, with chief executive Michael Boggs saying New Zealanders have put a high value on the importance of quality journalism by backing NZ Herald's digital news subscription service – the paywall has reached 10,000 subscribers in just six weeks.
NZME set a target of 10,000 paid subscribers within 12 months of launching on April 30, however, Boggs says they've already reached the milestone.
"Pleasingly, over 35 percent of subscribers have opted for an annual subscription," Boggs says.
"I couldn't be more delighted for our hard-working editorial teams."
The 10,000 does not include pre-existing NZME subscribers who got automatic access to the digital content with their newspaper subscriptions.
NZME based its initial subscription targets on analysis of how other subscription services had launched overseas. These assessments are largely based on how many digital users converted to paid supporters.
Herald Premium editor Miriyana Alexander says the news is a boost for journalists.
"Our loyal readers have been buying our newspapers for decades and it's great to see so many putting that same value on the journalism that we deliver on our digital platforms as well."
Alexander says according to Google Analytics paying readers are spending three times longer on the website than non-subscribers, on average.
Boggs says the news is particularly valuable for NZME's advertising partners.
"Premium is a great addition to our impressive suite of digital properties which already achieve significant scale for our customers," he says.
"While we'll take a moment to celebrate reaching the 10,000 subscribe mark, we also know NZ Herald Premium is part of a strategy that will deliver over the long term – not in weeks or months."
Within three years, between 70,000 and 100,000 people will need to be paying for NZME digital content in order to meet targets the company has adopted from the experience with online paywalls in Australia.