A site devoted to discussing techniques that promote quality and ethical practices in software development.

Friday, August 3, 2007

AFR's Strange subscription model.

The premium Australian financial newspaper is called The Australian Financial Review (AFR). Many years ago in the dot com era, it began its entry into digital web media world by having a Web site that reader can read articles.

AFR has a very crazy subscription model some would argue none at all. In both WSJ or Economist they have subscription different rates for printed and electronic form. The costs between the two are quite substantial. However, AFR does not have any differentiation. Electronic access is only available to those that have a minimum of 5-days paper subscriptions annually. As a result, I chose to subscribe to WSJ, which has far more informations of world class quality to read and definitely cheaper. AFR contains a lot of reprints of WSJ's article and saving heaps. This was quite a few years ago.

Apparently things have not changed much and its seems to have gone worse with the upheavals:

Critics have been quick to slam afr.com as slow, irredeemably clumsy, clunky, hard to navigate, inconvenient, expensive, a ploy to charge more for less and a financial disaster.

And if that were not enough, the application has been branded, launched, then rebranded and relaunched in the past 10 months.

Well said and spot on. When I was an AFR subscriber, it was terrible and the organisation is extremely mean as compared to WSJ in archiving their articles. This has not changed either and seems to have gone worse:
To access any services beyond the smattering of open news stories, you need to become a subscriber. A basic subscription involves registration, which allows access to news and investment guides provided from 29 sources and entitles the subscriber to access archived stories at $3 each.

Step up to the Essential level and you'll pay $25 a month (free if you're a subscriber to the print edition), which provides news and investment services, plus 10 free archive accesses. In other words, you'll save $5 on the $30 cost of 10 trips to the library.

The Markets level costs $50 a month and gives 25 archive credits: $75 worth of stories for $50.

The Advanced level costs $150 a month and provides access to the full suite of services: news, market analysis, 80 archive credits (worth $240 a month), market data, economic statistics, industry snapshots, company reports, watch lists, portfolios, charting and so on. Other services at add-on prices can take the total cost of the package to $288 a month or $3456 a year.

It ain't cheap. But it is the only place, other than the printed version, that allows you to access AFR stories. The company last year withdrew from Media Monitors and other copy-sharing services, arguing that it received no compensation for its work.
It does not even tell you that AFR will archive articles in 30 days as compared to say 3 months in WSJ. Once archived, you have to pay to read it! People show boycott this kind of services as it is clearly attempting to fleece their readers. It will be good to see Rupert Murdoch coming in to give Australian reader a choice. Monopoly breeds this kind of contempts for consumers.

No comments:

Blog Archive