The Australian launches rewards program to attract and retain subscribers

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 16 April 2015

News Corp has launched a rewards program for The Australian called The Australian Plus, in a bid to engage and retain its subscriber base.

The Australian Plus carries the same plus branding as News Corp's rewards scheme News Plus that serves other titles in the stable, however The Australian's CEO Nicholas Gray told AdNews that while the name is similar the programs will differ.

“It's following the same strategy, but it's a different program, it carries the same plus branding to the News rewards program, it's also the same as the Wall Street Journal Plus,” Gray said.

The main point of difference according to Gray is the access that The Australian plans to offer access to its journalists through events offered only to Plus members.

“Whilst our customers will value the access to additional content through Australian Plus and value unique experiences what they will value most is the access to our unique journalistic talent.

“Our business journalists, our lifestyle journalists, whoever they are, our research shows our readers want to connect closely with them and I think that differentiates us from most other rewards programs,” he said.

The events offered by the rewards scheme come at an additional cost and are each priced differently however Gray told AdNews that while the program will generate revenue it wasn't designed to be a revenue stream.

“The overwhelming motivation is for it was for it to be a retention and engagement vehicle for our members, we're not launching this to be a revenue stream in its own right, that's not to say we don't hope it grows, but it was launched primarily to engage and retain our subscribers,” he said.

The Australian launching its rewards scheme comes as The Australian Financial Review quietly closed its program after just three months.

At the time a Fairfax Media spokesperson told AdNews: "We are working on the next generation of subscriber benefits."

Gray explained that for The Australian now was the right time for it to launch its program and that it's important for any brand now to engage with its subscribers.

“Businesses as diverse as Qantas to American Express to Coles have successful rewards programs and clearly it's an important way to engage and retain their customers.

“It's as important for us as it is for any other those companies. What we can uniquely offer is access to our talent, we know one of the reasons our audiences are loyal to The Australian is they love reading our journalists, so creating access to them is important,” he said.

As well as launching the program today, The Australian is launching new creative centring around the journalists of The Australian. See some of the launch creative below. 

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