Picture: SHELLEY CHRISTIANS
Picture: SHELLEY CHRISTIANS

NASPERS’ new model for charging readers for its online content has been described by a media expert as "particularly porous", meaning it is easy to get free access, but the publishing house says this is intentional.

Earlier this week, Naspers announced that its three Afrikaans-language daily newspapers, Die Burger, Beeld and Volksblad, would launch new websites, which are in the testing phase, and then begin charging their readers to access the content.

BDFM, which owns Business Day, is also due to put up a paywall for its online content.

To access content on the three Naspers publications, a threshold of 20 articles per publication every month will be available for free. However, readers who access the content through social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, will be able to read all the articles they want for free.

Digital media expert Dave Duarte said: "The big winner will be social media as Naspers will be encouraging their most interactive and influential readers to keep visiting. This will allow them to collect more information on their readers, and that gives them a great database."

On the other hand, said Mr Duarte, Naspers runs the risk of losing those readers who do not want to use social media to access their news content and do not feel the need to pay for news.

Media24 head of digital Sebastian Stent said the model was developed after researching what The Economist, Financial Times, The New York Times and the Boston Globe did to shore up revenue in a declining print advertising spend environment.