From: Staff Notices

To: All Fairfax Staff

Subject: afr.com

Dear Colleagues

The next big step in our transition to a digital future is the roll out of afr.com, which will take place from 2 April. I am writing to give you background on the strategy.

As many know, we have concluded that the best approach to the opportunities of our digital future is a subscription based application rather than the advertising-driven HTML approach that is common to most general interest newspapers. The core reason for this strategy is that our business audiences are relatively small but at the same time they demand high value, unique editorial quality.

The main reason for the application model is that the audience research told us plainly that the main drivers for their use of the web were – first – the quality content and second the utility of searching, alerting and customisation that come with the application technology. We have chosen a combination of technologies that provide a robust, highly flexible platform for a wide range of business opportunities.

At the heart of afr.com and its related developments is unique, high editorial quality. Naturally, it has to be exclusive if our subscription approach is to work. To that end, we have discontinued syndications to other channels including factiva, AAP and Media Monitors from 31 March.

Institutions and enterprises that have been supplied by syndications in the past will have the choice to take subscriptions to afr.com or to discuss with us individual deals on large scale use of Fairfax content only.

The new afr.com offers a rich collection of news and archives, including the full range from Fairfax Australia, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, AAP and in total 24 data sources including Aspect Huntley, Morningstar, IBIS, CPM, APM and ASX. It also provides a newspaper digital viewer, coupled with advanced tracking and clipping options.

We have had a very encouraging period of growth since the second version of afraccess.com went to market late last year and are ahead of our initial target for customer acquisition. The transition to afr.com takes us to the main game and we have had very encouraging responses. Should you have any questions, suggestions or client opportunities please let me know.

Michael Gill, Chief Executive Officer, Fairfax Business Media

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