Paywalls extend beyond monetary value. The price can be personal data exchange, and even free advertisement for the press.
A major news event just occurred and you, like the rest of the world, go to Google to read about it. You find an article that seems interesting, or maybe it’s on your favorite news site, and you barely glimpse at the first paragraph before being hit with a paywall. The phenomenon of paying for digital content is not new, but it has become more widespread in the past few years. While video content providers like Netflix and Hulu have set up digital subscriptions, publications that produce premium content also want to capitalize on the pay-to-access trend. You’ve probably encountered pop-ups on sites like The New York Times, The Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and countless more.
Access premium content without the subscription fees.
A paywall is a type of digital mechanism digital presses use in order to restrict access to premium content and increase monetization. Most often, it is used for news articles. Users can unlock access by paying a premium or signing up for a subscription.
Not all paywalls require users to pay money to access content. Some content providers persuade readers to bookmark a page, provide an email address, or even share a social media post.
In these instances, the price can be personal data exchange, and even free advertisement for the press. The content that users access from many news and digital presses is in fact paid for. The NY Times reached 7.5 million subscribers in 2020 with the Guardian following second with 3 million. What’s more is that the NY Times jumped to 8.5 million subscribers in 2021 and brought in $50 million in revenue from digital subscribers alone.
Needless to say, with this sort of success, paywalls are here to stay.
The 4 types of paywalls are Hard, Metered, Freemium, and Dynamic.
Just as the name suggests, a hard paywall implies a hard stop. When a reader encounters a hard paywall, they will typically only see the article title and a small preview of the introductory paragraph. Then the user is prompted to pay for further access.
These require some form of paid subscription before providing a user access to any content. They are usually the most difficult for a user to circumvent, and the downside for business is that they are the riskiest strategy overall. It is most commonly used by professional and financial titles. Some examples of hard paywalls include The Times and Financial Times.
However, with more and more companies implementing different kinds of paywalls, the amount of information that could be found on other sites for free began to shrink. More users started to adjust to paywall practices and now The Times of London generates over $60 million a year of previously nonexistent revenue.
The metered model works by allowing a certain number of free articles. Once the number of articles per month is hit, a user is prompted with a paywall in order to access more articles. For many businesses, determining the right amount of content that is freely available is crucial. Publishers have two main decisions: how many stories are free and what to charge once they aren’t.
The Financial Times has seen promising growth with this model. The publication has reached its highest-ever paid circulation for print and digital products. In total, the company has over 1.17 million paying customer and is on track to reach 1 million digital-only subscribers. Their growth has been exponential since the introduction of their metered paywall in 2002.
This type of paywall is most often used by companies with a smaller target audience. Otherwise known as the reverse paywall, a freemium paywall works by splitting up paid vs. free access by content type. This way certain articles are behind paywalls while others are free. There is no metered number of freely accessible articles before being locked out.
Invisibly is bridging this gap by partnering with publishers to offer a better way to access premium content. With Invisibly, users can earn points with their data and spend those points to access the content they want, when they want it. Users can access free local publications and get subscriptions to publications like The Wall Street Journal, Barrons, and MarketWatch using points. Additionally, they can also access over 30 eMagazine publications. Download Invisibly today to start accessing premium content, or inquire about becoming a publishing partner to expand access to your new and existing content.
Use your data to access premium content you love.