Tue, Jun 11, 2019 - Page 2 News List

‘Apple Daily’ to charge for online subscriptions

FIRST IN TAIWAN:As of Monday, the paper’s 3 million or so online subscribers will have to pay NT$10 for access until formal subscription plans are announced in August

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Apple Daily will charge a monthly subscription fee to access its online content from September, Next Media Group founder Jimmy Lai (黎智英) said yesterday.

The Chinese-language newspaper will be the nation’s first daily to charge for online access.

Such an announcement had been widely expected after the group in April began requiring people to register for accounts before being able to read news stories on the Apple Daily Web site.

People who have already registered can continue accessing online news articles by paying NT$10, starting on Monday next week, for a trial subscription that would be valid until the end of August, Lai said in a video posted online.

Subscription plans would be made public by the middle of August at the latest, and users would be able cancel their subscriptions if they do not like the plans, Lai said.

“We want to keep our prices low because we want to attract as many as subscribers as possible. In this way, the public can still hear a loud and important voice in our society,” Lai said.

As of Sunday, the paper’s Web site had about 3.17 million subscribers.

Non-subscribers can only see one paragraph of each story in the breaking news “recommended by the editors” section and must subscribe if they want to read the rest of the story.

In one of his Apple Daily columns in July last year, Lai wrote that he saw paid online subscriptions as a salvation for the newspaper industry, because it has helped the New York Times.

The New York Times Co in February said that its digital revenue last year was more than US$709 million and it was on track to meet its goal of US$800 million by the end of next year.

More than 3.3 million people pay for the Times’ digital products, including its news, crossword puzzle and food apps — a 27 percent jump from 2017 — and the total number of paid subscriptions for digital and print has reached 4.3 million, the company said.

The Times has set a goal of 10 million online subscribers by 2025.

Lai, who founded the Next Media Group in Hong Kong, said he decided in 2001 to publish Taiwanese editions of his two main Hong Kong publications — Next Magazine and the Apple Daily — following Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) election as president in March 2000, as he saw business opportunities arising from an increasingly democratic nation.

The success of Next Magazine and the Apple Daily in Taiwan — two of the nation’s most popular publications — has been attributed to their extensive tabloid-style coverage of celebrities and politicians.

The Hong Kong edition of Next went digital on March 21 last year, followed by the Taiwanese edition on April 4.

This story has been viewed 2672 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top