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The Hindu Business Line e-paper introduces digital subscription

27-September-2017
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The Hindu Business Line e-paper introduces digital subscription

Rapid growth of internet has been giving the print industry a tough time. Print media was already struggling to increase its business and now it has to deal with tsunami of content on internet along with ease of access, low cost, innumerable platforms and of course, the real time news updates have affected the industry even further. Left with no option, almost all the print organisations are compelled to make their online presence strong and compete with each other on internet as well.

Business Line: Trying to look what’s beyond
In order to keep up with the competition The Hindu’s business newspaper, Business Line, has tried to practise what it preaches, “Great things happen when you go beyond”. And, they seem to have gone a little too far. Recently, Business Line introduced its all new e-paper (presently, only the Chennai edition) in a more “convenient format” which comes with some new features like:
Switch between image and text formats, share articles on social media, save articles in your favourite list, download the html or PDF version, and night mode option. And, what comes along with convenience is a pay wall. It allows the readers to choose four options of subscription other than a 7 day free-trial period.

Will we ever pay to read news?
In June 2016, Business Standard, another leading business newspaper, became the first in the industry to introduce digital subscription in India. A year later, Business Line seems to have followed the steps. Although, both publications provide similar features, the annual subscription charges of Business Standard are more than double of what Business Line asks for.



Business Line also gives access to the issues of last 60 days from the current date in the e-Paper archives. A subscriber can also download them in pdf format. However, other leading business newspapers such as Mint, Financial Express and The Economic Times, which don’t charge a single penny, give full access to all their content. In case of Financial Express, other than reading the complete e-paper, all visitors have access to its archives of last 5 years. Mint gives access to e-paper archives of last three months, Economic Times allows only for last 6 days. 

The writer wrote to Business Line but hasn’t received any response till now. The story will be updated as soon as reply is received.

What has changed?
Internet gives the readers access to thousands of national and international publications which sufficiently fill one’s capacity to engage with news. There are thousands of blogs/new websites with opinions and commentary from hundreds of experts and news updates are received in real time via social media. This ends the exclusivity that newspapers enjoyed due to limited options of publications. So far, the pay wall/subscription model has turned out to be not-so-effective, especially, in the news domain. This is the case not only in India but worldwide.

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