Readers of The Chronicle in Toowoomba, Queensland, have embraced the regional paper’s new digital subscription package, with a number of readers trying to subscribe to the deal even before its official launch on Tuesday.
APN plans to rollout this subscription model to all 12 of its regional papers, however the media company is yet to determine which masthead will adopt the model next.
APN will be monitoring the progress of The Chronicle’s digital subscription rollout over the next few weeks and, provided all goes well, new developments in the company’s digital subscription offerings can be expected by Christmas.
The Chronicle became the first regional paper in Australia to offer digital subscriptions with the launch of its introductory $3-per-week offer and a metered model on its website which gives readers 10-free articles a month before being asked to subscribe.
Subscribers will gain unlimited access to all ARM titles, three months access to streaming service Presto, one year’s subscription to The Washington Post, a digital pass to Fox Sports online, unrestricted access to The Courier-Mail and membership to Courier-Mail’s +Rewards Program.
After the 12-week introductory period, the cost of the subscription rises to $6 a week.
Editorial director of APN’s Australian Regional Media network Bryce Johns said a number of potential subscribers contacted the publisher to sign on prior to the launch
“We had to delay them, but it was encouraging to see that before any barrier was in place around the subscription model there were was a reasonable number of people wanting to sign on and pay,” he said.
It was early days, but Mr Johns was happy with the response so far.
The Chronicle editor Steve Etwell said the subscription package was comprehensive and represented value.
“Everything’s covered: local, national, state and world news,” he said.
Mr Etwell says The Chronicle was chosen as a testing ground for the subscription rollout because of the paper’s strong track record in online news and video production.
“Basically it was because we were the best in the (ARM) group and our online coverage; we were early adaptors. We are leaders in it and we’re pretty proud of that,” he said.
“Toowoomba Chronicle online is way ahead of our TV rivals, way ahead of our radio rivals. It’s easy to see our reporters get it. They get that (breaking news) needs to be online straight away.”
A special investigative series on unresolved murders in the local area will be published on The Chronicle’s website as part of the subscription launch.
The Chronicle’s has a Monday to Friday readership of 59,000 and covers an area about the size of Victoria.