Fairfax Media will introduce paywalls on its major newspaper
websites for overseas readers within a month, and for
Australian readers by the middle of the year.
Fairfax Media chief executive Greg Hywood said that digital
subscriptions would be put in place for overseas readers of
the company's flagship news sites during March.
"Metro digital subscriptions will start to be rolled out in
offshore markets on schedule in March, with subsequent
domestic launch to follow," Mr Hywood told analysts during a
briefing on the company's first half results.
In June 2012, Fairfax said paywalls would be introduced on
its Sydney Morning Herald and The Age news
websites in the first three months of 2013.
Some initial confusion around the start times for local
paywalls as outlined by Mr Hywood during the briefing was
later clarified by a Fairfax Media spokesperson who told AAP
the rollout of the so-called metered content model was
"proceeding to plan".
Fairfax is going ahead with moving the Sydney Morning
Herald and Melbourne's The Age to a tabloid-sized
"compact format" on March 4.
Mr Hywood dismissed any threat posed to Fairfax's operations
by the launch of an Australian online version of UK newspaper
The Guardian after being asked by one analyst if it
would have an effect.
The Guardian lured three senior journalists away from
Fairfax to start its Australian operation.
"The Guardian is an extremely good brand in some
suburbs of London," Mr Hywood said.
"It is not a strongly competitive brand in Australia".