Die Welt

German publisher Axel Springer AG, which owns 230 newspapers and magazines across Europe, hopes to "set the tone" for the market when it launches its metered paywall for the website of daily national newspaper Die Welt.

Speaking at the World Editors Forum Christoph Keese, head of public relations at Axel Springer, said the metered model is currently "being programmed with lots of resources". It is due to be introduced "by the end of the year or early next year", he said.

The model will offer a certain allowance of articles before charging for access, but this will be scalable, he added. As with the New York Times metered model, referrals to content, such as from social media and Google, will not count and take away from a user's allowance.

The company will be able to analyse its audience in great detail, Keese said. "Many people are just flying by and the system should optimise the kind of revenue we're getting from these kind of people."

Die Welt's metered subscription model follows fixed paywalls for two of Axel Springer's regional titles, in Hamburg and Berlin, launched in early 2011.

Keese told Journalism.co.uk how these have been "really successful", and it "hasn't hurt traffic". He added that Axel Springer hopes to now "set the tone" for national online paid-content models in Germany.

During the discussion Keese took part in at the conference, he said the development of such a model is "very complicated and takes a long time", particularly when it is being linked to legacy systems, such as print and digital bundles.

Keese also spoke about Axel Springer's decision to charge for content offered on the iPad from the outset, explaining that Die Welt's iPad app had carried a charge from when it was launched.

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