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It may be sceptical that readers would pay to read its news site – but Guardian News & Media is today taking the wraps off two alternative new commercial models…
We’ve known for nine months that an equivalent to The Times’ Times+ has been coming, but now it’s gone to market with a scheme it’s calling Guardian Extra, run by the paper’s former digital-edition product manager Richard J. Thompson as head of membership.
£25-a-year, or free with an annual print subscription (starting from £22.43 a month), it’s rather like Times+, wrapping up a selection of Guardian partnerships to offer members access and favourable rates to live events, “background briefings” and a range of other exclusive-type offerings.
But The Guardian is looking to make a big brand play to its most loyal readers, right down to giving readers access to its own premises and staff, not just a series of offers or vouchers. From the announcement; “Extra members will be given unprecedented access to the Guardian/Observer’s multi-award winning offices in Kings Place, with special access to the papers’ Editors, newsroom visits, plus interviews and events involving some of our most respected and senior journalists.”
Thompson: “Extra will be different from traditional newspaper membership schemes in that events and activities will be truly reflective of the Guardian and The Observer