New online paywall resource hub a sign of the future for Australian Christian publishing
In a potentially game-changing move in Christian publishing, especially in Australia, Sydney’s Matthias Media have launched an online hub of discipleship and Bible materials, offering easy access to these materials both within Australia and overseas—but you’ll need to pay.
Resources on the site, gotherefor.com, are behind a paywall—the first of its kind in the Australian Christian publishing landscape—and users must pay a monthly subscription fee to gain access. Plans include a small group plan ($9 a month for up to 20 users), or church plans from between $40 (for 1-150 users) to $90 (for 1000+ users), for which users will have unlimited access to the resources.
“We’re trying to foster the idea that ministry is something everyone in the church does…so all Christians need access to good resources,” says Ian Carmichael, Director of Matthias Media.
Mr Carmichael told Eternity that the need for faster and cheaper access to resources was a key motivator for the organisation to make the move to an online paywall system. “There are huge opportunities to get our resources into parts of the world we just aren’t reaching through physical distribution, and where it wouldn’t be economical to even try. [Now,] we can partner with friends to translate digital resources into other languages and extend the reach even further through the online platform.”
That desire has been met already at the recent Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) where 250 women were gifted with unlimited access to gotherefor.com, to take back to their ministries in countries lacking good Bible resources.
“The women were very pleased with their gift and very grateful to have access,” said Dr Karin Sowada, CEO of Anglican Deaconess Ministries who partnered with Matthias Media in providing the gift. “We know that good quality Bible resources are critical to discipling and growing the body of Christ. Often access to well-thought-out biblical materials is limited by cost, language and simply knowing where to find the best material.”
The 250 women from Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Madagascar and Myanmar will now have access to small group Bible studies, training courses and one-to-one Bible reading materials.
Gotherefor.com has been up and running for two weeks, and subscriptions are starting to come in—from Australia, New Zealand, USA, South Africa, Singapore and Uganda so far.
Whether overseas or at home, the move to an online paywall system for Bible resources seems inevitable for Christian publishers, according to Mr Carmichael.
“We know that if we don’t do it, someone else will, and we’ll end up with an old model of distribution in a market that has well and truly moved on.”
“To be honest…I think other Christian publishers will need to rethink their strategies too.”More