News website paywalls in SA prices compared

South Africa’s popular daily business newspaper Business Day recently implemented a paywall, requiring visitors to pay if they want to access more than 15 articles per month.

The Business Day paywall follows a similar decision by Media24 to put their Afrikaans newspapers – Die Burger, Beeld and Volksblad – behind paywalls.

Business Day publisher and editor-in-chief, Peter Bruce said that he doesn’t care how many people subscribe to the newspaper’s online edition.

“Basically it means nothing is for free, that’s all…that’s my bottom line. I don’t care how many people subscribe. It’s gratifying that so many have, but as long as I am not giving away content for free, I’m a happy man,” said Bruce.

He said that over the past 10 days or so, he’s found it difficult to find Business Day in his local Spar, an indication, he believes, that the paywall model is working.

Online news subscription price comparison

The following table provides an overview of how much people have to pay to access some of South Africa’s prominent news websites which have implemented a subscription service.

A few high profile international news publications were included in the comparison to give perspective on the monthly subscription charges.

Daily newspaper digital access Basic subscription cost Monthly cost
Sunday Times + The Times R173.30 for 3 months R58
Daily Dispatch e-Edition R180 for 3 months R60
Beeld R99 per month R99
Die Burger R99 per month R99
Business Day R1,183 for 3 months R394
New York Times $3.75 per week R155
The Wall Street Journal $22.99 per month R219
Financial Times $6.25 per week R258
1 USD = 9.53 ZAR

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News website paywalls in SA prices compared