German publisher Axel Springer has made good on its promises and put up online paywalls for two of its German newspapers, Paid Content reports.
Two of its newspapers, the Berliner Morgenpost and the Hamburger Abendblatt, are now charging for online content. It now costs €4.95 a month for access to all content on morgenpost.de. By contrast, abendblatt.de has a mixture of free and premium content, with a premium subscription priced at €7.95 a month. It appears to charge extra for content specific to the Hamburg region while providing national news for free. Subscriptions for both sites are renewed on a monthly basis.
The company revealed plans to charge for online content in December last year. At the time, Springer's head of public affairs Christoph Keese said: "The meta-philosophy of free - we should get rid of this philosophy. A highly industrialized world cannot survive on rumours. It needs quality journalism, and that costs money."
In the same month, it launched paid iPhone apps for two of its other German newspapers, Die Welt and the tabloid paper Bild. According to Clickandbuy, which provides the charging system for the apps and the online paywalls, Bild is ranked first and Die Welt ninth in Germany's App Store.
At the time, Keese also mentioned plans for a system of micropayments, in which users could click through from Google search results to articles by the publisher, then face the choice of paying - or not - to read the piece. There's no update on that yet.
The New York Times recently announced plans to erect a paywall around its website from 2011, and News Corporation has delayed its plans to charge for its online news by June. In Europe, French newspapers Le Figaro and L'Express also plan to start charging for their websites early this year.