The Herald Sun yesterday announced a new subscription-based service for online content.

In a bold move, the Herald Sun will begin charging readers $2.95 a week to view the paper’s online content such as SuperFooty.

For Australian Rules fans, this means forking out their hard-earned money for a service, that for the past 10 years has been free.

Herald Sun journalist Mark Robinson is defensive of the decision, Twittering that ‘the 10-year free trial is now over’.

The viewpoint is somewhat naïve from Robinson, as the extended online readership surely attracts additional money from advertisers.

Introducing a subscription service will isolate a large portion of the publication’s readership, resulting in a loss of advertising income.

Whilst the Herald Sun may offer a 2-month trial subscription to help ease the transition, for many readers the damage has been done.

Readers of the Herald Sun  are now looking elsewhere for their news, with sites such as the BigFooty News and the BigFooty forums providing similar content free of charge.

With quality content and a greater depth of discussion, readers will struggle to justify subscribing to the Herald Sun over similar free alternatives. Football fans will begin leaving the Herald Sun in their droves but this doesn’t seem to worry the publication’s backers.

The Herald Sun seem comfortable that their new subscription service will yield a profit, an indictment of the current news industry.

A news outlet should contain a passion to deliver news to as many people as possible. When push comes to shove, the Herald Sun has shown it is more passionate about profits, than delivering news to the masses.

The good news is that as the media industry adapts to the information age, readers will continue to have a wide range of choices for news consumption –  both online and in print – whether the Herald Sun likes it or not.