Cape Town - 24.com on Monday announced that its news wire service, News24Wire, would be extending its charge model to a fully paid-for service for digital publishers.
The online use option is currently free to approved digital publishers with a tiered paid-service for print, broadcast and online to the broader market. The new model will kick in from 1 April 2016.
News24Wire was launched on 1 April 2015, the day after the South African Press Association (Sapa) closed.
Said News24's Editor-in-Chief Andrew Trench, at the launch of News24Wire: "We planned to make a significant investment in News24's original content and journalism prior to the decision to close Sapa. We fast tracked these plans to fill the critical gap left by the Sapa closure."
Since then, under the editorial helm of Trench and with Gallo Images managing the sales and distribution, News24Wire has expanded the domestic service, added relevant international feeds and significantly invested in the News24Wire infrastructure to provide a premier wire service in South Africa.
They also added a 14-day diary which has been very successful.
The South Africa regional bureaus in Johannesburg, Durban, Bloemfontein and Cape Town were in place at launch, with a Pretoria office added late 2015 and the creation of the Parliamentary team at the same time.
Says Trench: "User feedback has been very constructive and positive and in response, there have been constant additions and improvements to the functioning and coverage of these bureaus over the last 11 months. Coverage in other specialist content areas is provided by staff in News24's broader editorial team: finance and economics from Fin24, sport from Sport24, health from Health24, entertainment from Channel24, technology from Fin24 Tech and Africa from our teams in Nigeria and Kenya. This also includes some motoring and travel news from the Wheels24 and Traveller24 teams."
Some of the major news events covered wall-to-wall across the country by News24Wire have been the #FeesMustFall campaign, during which the team of journalists delivered nearly 70 stories. The sacking of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December was covered from different angles in more than 80 stories on both the News24 and Fin24 fronts and when culpable-homicide convicted paralympian Oscar Pistorius lost his appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal last November, News24Wire published more than 20 stories on the day of the judgment alone, excluding previews and analysis pieces afterwards.
"When we launched News24Wire it felt like South Africa was at a pivotal point in its political history - and it was clear that independent and well run media platforms were particularly crucial," says Trench.
"Twelve-months later it is even more so. A healthy society cannot operate if the public are not kept properly and independently informed. I believe that our teams on the ground across the country as well as our specialised beat teams are achieving this."
"Demand for News24Wire's service has been excellent since inception and continues to grow as media, government, political parties and business recognise the value the service brings enabling them to stay ahead of breaking news developments. The benefit of News24Wire's Diary service is valued too as it allows clients to confidently plan ahead by as much as two weeks for upcoming Court, Sport, Weather and News events," says Pam Wills, Managing Director at Gallo Images.
News24Wire has grown into the biggest, and arguably the most valuable news wire service available to publishers," says Trench. "In the last year the content produced by our teams, with the support of international news partners Al-Jazeera and DPA, has been extensive. To date 11 385 domestic stories have been published with a total of 20 940 uploaded stories including domestic, international and African. If we are going to continue to grow as a service and better our offering to our clients and to news readers then we need to implement a paid-for system."
Trench adds: "However, a lot of thought has been put into the payment structure to ensure it's fair and reasonable".
The new pricing model, effective 1 April 2016, will be tiered to ensure sensitivity to publisher size. There will also continue to be a 30% discount offered for published articles that include accredited back links.
For queries and subscriptions contact Leigh Benson or Robyn Terbrugge at Gallo Images on firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com or (011) 463-1925.