In March The Local Switzerland will begin asking regular readers to pay a small contribution to become Members. Editor George Mills explains why the change is taking place.
From early March 2019 regular readers of The Local Switzerland will be asked to pay a small contribution in order to get full access to the site.
In other words we are introducing a paywall.
"But why?" you are perfectly entitled to ask.
Firstly relying on advertising is no longer enough in the current ruthless media industry.
We are working in an environment in which big global companies like Facebook and Google have snapped up a huge proportion of global advertising. We still have some brilliant advertisers, and will continue to value those relationships, but like most other media we also need other more stable forms of income.
The reality is that a click or a unique visitor doesn't, on its own, pay the bills, especially when so many people use Ad blockers.
If we want to continue to grow as we have done since The Local Switzerland was launched in 2011, and if we want to offer more to readers, then we need to ask them to contribute directly.
But our Membership scheme is not just about having to balance the books in a world of falling ad revenues.
We want to be in a position to offer more insight into this wonderful country and to cover the news our readers need in more detail. We want to explain how the country works and give people the advice they need to navigate their life in Switzerland.
That includes everything from articles about the country's regular referendums to information on key legal changes that affect readers.
We also want our members to become more involved in what we do and how we do it.
And we'll be redoubling our efforts to speak up for the international residents of Switzerland when they need our help.
From my point of view, a major positive about asking readers to pay is that the responsibility will make us improve what we do. It also means that we can reduce our reliance on advertising and stop the endless hunt for more clicks. We can concentrate on the stories that matter to you.
Of course I don't expect you to be convinced by these words. I know that we will only convince you by writing article upon article that you will want to read. The responsibility to persuade you is wholly on us and we hope to be able to meet the challenge.
How will it work?
A paywall will be introduced. This means after a certain amount of articles per month, readers will be asked to become Members in order to carry on reading.
That means occasional readers of The Local will be still able to read the vast majority of articles we publish for free, although they wont be able to read certain more in-depth articles, which will be for Members only.
As for prices, at the beginning readers will be offered an "early bird" discount offer to sign up in advance of the launch.
If you are interested in becoming a member of The Local and would like to know when our "early bird offer" goes live, just pop your email address into the box below.
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