After the Herald Sun‘s recent announcement that it would be the next major Australian masthead to chance its hand behind a pay wall comes today’s announcement of its pricing schedule and launch date: Monday 12 March, a public holiday in Victoria.

‘Digital Pass’ subscriptions will be offered on a two-month free trial available until June 30, after which time it will cost subscribers $2.95 a week for full digital access to the Herald Sun website, tablet app and mobile site.

Subscribers will have full access to an upgraded website featuring a new design and more interactive content including ‘SuperFooty Live HQ’, a ‘second-screen experience’ for AFL fans, ‘TrueCrimeScene’, anchored by veteran detective Charlie Bezzina, and more video, photo and lifestyle content.

Online and print bundle packages will also be available ranging from $4.95 per week for full digital access plus newspaper delivery on Saturday and Sunday to $8.95 per week for full digital access plus newspaper delivery every day.

In a move designed to reward loyal print edition readers, existing 6-7 day subscribers would be given premium service, according to Herald & Weekly Times managing director Peter Blunden.

“We will be offering these customers a complimentary 12-month Herald Sun Digital Pass in addition to their newspaper print subscription, valued at over $150,” Blunden said.

“All 1-5 day subscribers will be offered a three-month pass and all Herald Sun readers, including our casual retail customers, will also be offered a two-month trial to experience all that a Herald Sun Digital Pass offers.”

Blunden said the ‘freemium’ model, using a mix of free and subscription-only content, would ensure all readers continued to enjoy access to breaking news, wire stories, broad-interest stories and any content that is widely available via other digital publications.

But, through the range of digital pass subscriptions, readers would have access to specially selected premium content each day including opinion, exclusive news, sport, entertainment and analysis.

Coverage of the Herald Sun‘s senior columnists including Andrew Bolt, Mark Robinson, Terry McCrann, and Susie O’Brien would only be accessible to subscribers.

A marketing campaign worth $5 million will support the launch of digital subscriptions.

Blunden said the new-look website would particularly appeal to AFL fans. “Digital pass subscribers will be able to access new SuperFooty content including Australia’s number one second-screen experience for AFL matches,” he said.

“We’ve built a fully interactive match centre with scores, stats, fixtures, live chats, live SuperCoach points, news, video and social media interaction.”

  • mollyfud

    “Digital pass subscribers will be able to access new SuperFooty content including Australia’s number one second-screen experience for AFL matches,” he said.”

    They have the Number 1 2nd screen AFL experience? You mean they have bought out FanFooty (http://fanfooty.com.au)? If not, they are playing catchup!