Apple Daily’s website has long been one of the most widely-visited news sources in Hong Kong, but the company is considering rolling out a subscription model next year, South China Morning Post reported.
The pro-democracy newspaper has been struggling in recent years and recorded a loss of HK$476 million in 2017 due to poor market sentiment and revenue decline in online advertisements. To turn the business around, it was said that the management of the newspaper is considering to charge their readers which might help expand their financial resources.
The idea could take place as early as next year. Founder of Apple Daily Jimmy Lai wrote in Next Magazine, a weekly magazine under the same group which went online only in March 2018, that online subscription model could be a solution for the newspaper industry, as he cited The New York Times’ different levels of access depending on subscription.
Currently the daily print edition charges HK$8 but its online content is free and readers have access to all articles. SCMP cited David Webb, a shareholder of Next Digital, that in-depth articles should be for subscribers only, while low value-added news coverage should remain free.