Indy’s Aussie Wing Mulling Paid Content, Member Club Trials This Year

APN News & Media, the Australasian publisher of which Ireland’s Independent News & Media owns 32.2 percent, is joining the crowd by giving thought to online income other than web ads. Announcing earnings on Friday, APN said its newspaper site grew January-to-June revenue 16 percent from last year, “is now profitable” and “revenues will continue to grow organically for some time as the New Zealand online ad market matures”.

But that’s not enough. APN also says: “In both markets (New Zealand and Australia), while online audience and revenues are growing and growing strongly, we will actively look to supplement this growth by diversifying our online revenue sources. We are examining many options, including paid content, transactional and ‘club’ models. We are actively considering trials of each approach in certain overseas markets before the year end.” claims 835,000 unique monthly users in a country of 4.3 million.

No word on whether this will filter up to INM’s flagship, but News Corp (NYSE: NWS) is planning to charge for all its papers online, is testing the water on member clubs and it’s likely everyone is currently brainstorming new income streams not dependent on despondent advertising.

APN already sold its web classifieds business to New Zealand’s Yellow group back in February, as INM looked to off-load non-core businesses to help its troubling financial position – classifieds have been probably the worst performing ad sector in recent months. But APN retained in Australia, where it’s linking the ads with its local newspaper portfolio.

Overall, APN’s half-year profit plummeted 50 percent from a year ago to AUS$36.1 million on 18 percent lower sales of AUS$516.7 million.