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Incisive Media b2b site BusinessGreen, which covers environmental news and guidance for businesses, has launched a paywall restricting access to premium content through digital subscriptions.

The new payment model was introduced earlier this month, and users are being offered a month to try out the service for free, before charges come into effect at a rate of £399 a year.

According to a release, this is the "first step towards paid for content" for BusinessGreen which started out as a blog in 2006 before relaunching as a news website in 2007.

The paywall has been put up in front of "new-in depth content", while the day-to-day news feed will remain free to access. Subscribers to the new BusinessGreen Plus model will also gain "full, unhindered access to an archive of thousands of stories".

Announcing BusinessGreen Plus earlier this month, editor James Murray said a survey of its readers "suggested we should offer more content that can practically aid sustainability and other green-minded executives in their jobs".

"You wanted to see more case studies, how-to guides, detailed policy and technology briefings, industry-leading opinion and analysis and in-depth research. And that is precisely what BusinessGreen Plus will provide."

In a statement issued to Journalism.co.uk he added that "we thought long and hard about the decision to launch the BusinessGreen Plus service, but decided on balance it was the right thing to do for both our long term prospects and for our readers."

"The first thing to say is that the news on the site will remain freely open. We want to continue to inform the green business community in the UK as much as possible and as such we’re making all our news stories freely available.

"We believe we often do this better than the mainstream media and we know from our traffic figures that it is hugely valued by our readers.
"However, we also know that our readers want more in-depth content, the kind of in-depth content. But of course, this costs money to produce. By asking our readers to pay we can offer that kind of content, grow the brand and expand the service."

Asked if there were plans to grow the team behind BusinessGreen, Murray's statement added that the plan is to "remain as we are for the moment".

In the press release Incisive Media said this "is the very first 'born on the web' brand to implement a paywall".

"Incisive Media also believes BusinessGreen Plus is unique in the UK. Few, if any, brands without historical print products are launching a paid for content service."

Murray added in the release that the move to introduce a paywall was not "taken lightly".

"But in return for access to an array of richer, highly informative and exclusive in-depth content, all of which requires investment to deliver, we are asking our loyal readers to make a small financial contribution to support BusinessGreen's continued development.

"We like to think we play a role in informing and promoting the green economy, but we do need support from our readers if we are to continually improve our ability to play this crucial role."

According to the company, more than 1,000 sign-ups for the free trial and "the first BusinessGreen Plus subscribers" are also on board.

As well as the month-long free period, there is also "a launch offer" of £349 for the year, for those who subscribe within three months.

"All members also receive priority invites to all BusinessGreen roundtables, breakfast briefings and networking events, as well as special rates for BusinessGreen Leaders Awards tickets and its new BusinessGreen Intelligence reports," the release adds.

Other Incisive Media titles already offer subscriptions for digital content. At this year's Digital Media Strategies conference group publishing director Nat Knight shared the publisher's experience of launching paywalls, such as that in operation for Risk which costs £1,000 a year.

Journalism.co.uk also recently reported on Incisive Media's use of data from Scout Analytics to zone in on corporate subscriptions.

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