As more digital news is blocked behind pay walls, news providers compete for subscribers, promising higher-quality content and perks. Membership has its privileges. At least at The Times and the Sunday Times, part of News Corp´s UK unit, digital pack subscribers will be able to accompany their digital news consumption to tunes from Spotify, a music-streaming service with worldwide reach.
With advertising revenue in the newspaper industry dropping to new lows, the number of digital news services erecting pay walls has risen dramatically during recent years. Since 2010, The Times has instituted a pay wall, and it offers subscribers weekly, monthly and yearly subscription options on personal computers and/or mobile devices. Some packages combine print and smartphone access options.
The package that offers unlimited music without adverts from Spotify is the digital package. With a 12-month contract, subscribers get the smartphone app, full access to both websites and e-papers, the tablet edition, and Times+. The Times+ benefits subscribers are eligible for included “culture rewards”, such as books, CDs, and DVDs.
The digital pack sells for £6 per week – one of its pricier packages. Spotify Premium costs £9.99 per month. The Times and Sunday Times have a digital subscription base of 153,000, as well as 207,000 print subscribers. Partnering with Spotify is a strategy for making its pay wall model pay off.
News UKs chief marketing officer is enthusiastic about this latest pay wall deal sweetener: “Music is one of the top passions of readers of The Times and the Sunday Times and it is our aim to provide new services to our membership base to add value to their subscription. It is great to be working with a like-minded brand that also offers premium paid-for content.”
This weekend´s Sunday Times Culture supplement initiates a focus on music that will extend through the week. Spotify’s head of media partnerships, Peter de Bruin, sees an affinity between the two digital content providers. Both Spotify and The Times, said De Bruin have, “digitally-savvy, culturally-engaged audiences”.
Spotify has meanwhile expanded its free content, offering non-subscriber access – with adverts – to the streaming music service´s 20 million song titles. In December 2013, Spotify added 20 new markets in Europe, South America, and Central America.