Following last week’s unveiling of the new Guardian Australia news service, Fairfax Media has stepped up its game in the online market by announcing plans to lock frequent readers out of its website. This announcement comes in the wake of revelations that customers were no longer being driven away by the glitch driven autoplaying videos on its site, but had simply developed super speed reflexes in order to combat the feature.
When grilled as to the obvious merits of such a move in a hard hitting report by Fairfax’s own journalists, the head of Digital Media at Fairfax replied “This should increase traffic exponentially, everyone knows people love paying for things on the internet. Google didn’t become one of the biggest companies in the world by giving away its services for free you know. Likewise we’re well aware that users of premium services such as Apple’s iPad are strapped for cash and will most likely go elsewhere for their news if asked to pay a small amount for it. As such we’re keeping those services free for the time being. Its just basic business.”
Asked if the entry of a second left-of-centre news service, the Guardian, to the Australian market had any influence on the decision by Fairfax to destroy its market share, boardmember John Cutts responded, “We don’t like to think of the Guardian as a competitor. More of a holiday house, if you will, for our younger and more vibrant staff, where they can take a long relaxing break after one of our many staff headcount reductions which we undertake from time to time, and we think it’s only fair that along with all of our journalists, we send them most of our readers as well.” Mr Cutts has since been made redundant by Fairfax, and is now a sitting member of the Guardian’s board.
Fairfax will offer a range of packages to subscribers, starting at $1 for the first month for full access to the websites of the SMH and Age, rising to $44 for users seeking the luxury of filtering out anything written by Gerard Henderson.
Articles will still be available to be searched and shared on social media, to the benefit of those who enjoy sharing contentless paywalls with their family and friends, and sister website WAToday will remain completely unused by the public, just as it was before the introduction of subscriptions.