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Indian Express will have paid ad-free plans soon: Digital CEO

Exclusive: The Indian Express will soon have paid ad-free plans for readers on the website, the CEO of the Express Group's Digital efforts Sandeep Amar said. There will be monthly and yearly plans for both Indian and international readers, Amar told MediaNama. However, he added that access to content will not be restricted behind a paywall. Amar also said that these plans will not auto-renew payments for users in India, citing RBI guidelines that make doing that complicated. This will make Indian Express the first English-language newspaper to have ad-free digital subscription plans in India. Other newspapers, like The Hindu, either have paid e-paper plans, or syndicate their e-paper editions to apps like Readwhere, Magzter, and JioNewspaper, which serve them for free or for a price. But the web editions of these newspapers, which are probably by far their largest sources of digital revenue, have only used advertisements (and non-ad-free paywalls) to monetize so far. That may soon change. Magazines and online-only news organizations have experimented significantly more with online payments -- Outlook magazine briefly had 'micropayment' options where users could pay Re 1 to view a single article ad-free. Shashi adds: Last year, during a panel discussion, executive director Anant Goenka had mentioned that paywalls would not work in the Indian context. "Four years back, I had said that Indian Express website would be the first Indian news website which would go behind a paywall. I take all of that back. There is no way that would work in the Indian context. If there…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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