Germany’s Bild tabloid launches online paywall

Germany's sensationalist Bild daily, the biggest-selling European newspaper, plans to make readers pay for part of its online content from early next month, it said in its Tuesday edition.

Germany's Bild tabloid launches online paywall
Photo: DPA

In what it calls a “freemium model”, it will continue to provide free-access news on its popular website but also offer premium content packages for subscription fees.

Readers who buy its print edition will be able to access the extra online content using a “Day Pass”, an individualised code unique to their daily copy.

“The ‘Day Pass’ has been implemented using a novel printing process that allows for the first time ever printing an individual code in every single paper,” said publisher Axel Springer in a statement.

Newspapers everywhere have struggled with falling circulation and advertising revenue and the problem of making profits online, where readers can get a lot of news for free.

Bild rejected the idea of a full “paywall” for its website but from June 11 will offer three different “BILDplus” packages from €4.99 to €14.99 a month. They will feature exclusive stories, pictures and interviews.

Paying subscribers can opt for a digital edition of the day’s newspaper and its Sunday version Bild am Sonntag, or receive coupons for a print edition they can pick up in a shop.

Another services starting in August allows football fans to add the “Bundesliga at BILD” package, with online video clips of matches and other multimedia coverage.

Bild, a tabloid-style paper in broadsheet format, reported a daily circulation of 2.58 million in the first quarter of the year and 12.27 million unique online users in March.


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Bild editor steps down over allegations of affairs with employees

The editor-in-chief of German newspaper Bild is stepping down temporarily while he is investigated over several complaints made by women, publisher Axel Springer group said on Saturday.

Bild editor steps down over allegations of affairs with employees
Bild editor Julian Reichelt at the Bild newspaper's 'Sommerfest' party in 2018. Photo: picture alliance / Jörg Carstensen/dpa | Jörg Carstensen

Julian Reichelt had “asked the board of directors to be temporarily relieved of his duties until the allegations have been clarified”, the group said in a statement. The complaints prompted the company to launch an internal investigation led by lawyers.

Reichelt is suspected of having promoted interns with whom he had affairs and then sidelining or firing them, the Spiegel newspaper reported. Members of staff came forward months ago but Spiegel said management had been slow to look into the allegations.

However, the publisher defended itself in its statement: “As a matter of  principle Axel Springer always has to distinguish between rumors, indications and clear evidence.”

It said the firm would take action when there was clear evidence, adding: “Currently, there is no such clear evidence. Prejudgments based on rumors are unacceptable for the Axel Springer corporate culture.”

Reichelt denies the claims, the group said, adding that the investigation was ongoing.