Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily considering paywall for online content, CEO says

August 11, 2018
Industry News
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Jeffie Lam
jeffie.lam@scmp.com

Next Digital boss Cheung Kim-hung confirms subscription model is a direction paper is looking at with revenue from online ads in decline

A Hong Kong newspaper that runs one of the city’s most widely visited Chinese-language websites is considering whether to charge readers for online content from as early as next year.

Cheung Kim-hung, chief executive of Next Digital, confirmed to the Post that introducing a subscription model was a direction Apple Daily was looking at.

“Revenue from the paper’s online advertisements has been on the decline,” Cheung said, pointing to competition from tech giants Facebook and Google.

“[The subscription model] might help expand our financial resources so we can further invest in our content.”

Sources said the policy could be rolled out next year at the earliest.

Media experts said while the subscription model had been a trend for media worldwide, including in Hong Kong, it could be a challenge for Apple Daily, a Chinese-language broadsheet which had positioned itself for the mass market rather than the elite.

The pro-democracy newspaper was founded by high-profile liberal businessman Jimmy Lai Chee-ying in 1995. It was one of Next Digital’s flagship products, along with Next Magazine, which was founded in 1990 but stopped its print version in March, going solely online.

The company has been struggling and recorded a loss of HK$476 million (US$61 million) in 2017, thanks to poor market sentiment and keen global competition of programmatic advertising, where software is used to buy and sell online ad space in real time. Continue Reading 


 

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