The Irish Times is the latest news outlet to make the important leap to offering a subscription to its digital edition, while keeping a freemium paywall in effect. The fairly generous paywall–ten free articles per week on its website, or twenty free articles each week via the mobile app–allows those who have an interest in the outlet’s local coverage but may not rely on daily access to the Times‘ news to keep up-to-date with nearly two dozen free news stories a week.
Of course, those who need more in-depth access to the digital paper can subscribe. With two plans to choose from–both of which cost only one euro for the first month–users can access all of the papers’ archived back stories, the crosswords, the more voluminous Sunday edition, and the occasional ebook offer for only twelve euros a month, with an additional four euros for the premium plan that will include a digital replica of the full print edition each day. Two other subscription options–the Complete Print & Digital package at €50 a month, and a Weekend Print & Digital package at only €20 a month–allow subscribers to access both the print delivery and the digital editions.
This announcement makes the Times the first digital newspaper in Ireland with this type of paywall, bringing it more in line with the models offered by a number of well-known international news outlets that make a limited portion of content free for anyone to access.
This type of access to international news has exploded in popularity thanks to not only the advent of digital publishing, but also to apps like Pressreader that offer more than 3,700 individual titles from 120 countries. Readers from around the world can now keep up with news as seen through the local news market rather than relying on the possibility of a political slant in their home countries or regions to filter that news.