Premium content is becoming more popular. This of course comes at a cost for many different reasons. Here is why premium content is so highly valued and why it comes at a price.
Anyone with an account on any subscription based service knows about premium content. It is the access you gain by paying for a subscription. Whether it is ad free listening, or your favorite tv show, it comes at a cost. User access is often barred by paywalls and top dollar memberships. The truth is, many of us only know the bare minimum about premium content and why it’s worth the price. It’s more valuable and more accessible than we think.
Premium content is a type of digital content that requires some sort of payment to access. The cost comes with the territory as most often, premium content is higher quality or more desirable than what users can access for free. It is also used by media companies who produce or stream videos, music, and TV shows to sell subscriptions. Many digital publications use it as a marketing strategy that entices users to pay for more informative or exceptional content.
Premium content can be any of the following:
Each type of premium content fits the service. Netflix of course being a streaming platform will offer premium movies and television shows where the New York Times will offer articles and latest news updates. Each digital outlet creates and promotes the content that fits their business.
With so many formats of premium content, there is something for everyone. Still, with all the variety, the main goal is still the same. Premium content is meant to push traffic and turn a profit by creating content that is insightful, exclusive, and not readily available. Most sites entice users to pay for premium content by providing free (but lesser quality) content as a hook. Another tactic is to allow a preview of the premium content. With this, a viewer can only see a paragraph or two of an article, and they have to pay to unlock the rest.
Today, premium content comes at a high value and for good reason. As established above, quality is a key factor to being able to sell content. In order for premium content to be premium, certain resources are required. For instance, premium news pieces require robust research, skilled industry writers, and fair reporting. Premium videos require best practices in terms of production. Things like experienced editors, directors and screenwriters are necessary. Not to mention high sound and camera quality is a must. There is a given budget for premium content production. In 2021, Netflix spent $13.60 billion in total content production costs, a 26% increase from the year prior.
Costs to create content are one factor as to why users have to pay, the other is more straightforward. Streaming services, presses, digital news outlets, and more all need to make money. At the end of the day, they are businesses and revenue keeps them afloat.
Many sites allow you to access a certain amount of content for free. So why is it that people are paying for content even though there is accessible content available? The answer lies in access and quality. Premium content is worth it’s weight because it allows the user access to different types of content that is typically considered better than what they can access for free. Plus, there is the added bonus of not having content interrupted with pop-ups and ads.
Take Peacock, a streaming service created by NBC. for example. The company set up this service to provide audiences with access to loads of content, especially shows they directly own. As a company, NBC owns the rights to the immensely popular comedy sitcom – The Office. They offer users access to the show’s seasons 1-5 for free on their site but after, users need to subscribe to a premium plan to access the rest. And people will pay for it too. Peacock’s premium subscriber number skyrocketed to 42 million after adding the show to their platform. It makes sense considering that The Office was the most watched streaming title of 2020 with 57.13 billion minutes of user watch time.
Beyond videos, the other most common type of premium content are written articles. The ad support model of making money from digital publications is no longer as lucrative. Now, many presses have turned to providing premium content. The majority of magazines, journals and blogs are already behind paywalls. The reason is simple — it makes money.
So far, written premium content has had a large draw. The promise of quality content without ads attracts many. In 2020, The New York Times saw an addition of 2.3 million digital-only subscriptions. The reason why people pay is because they feel the reporting is more accurate, less biased, and well rounded. Of the 54% of Americans that subscribe to news services, 29% are digital only subscribers. Overall, the quality is higher. This is why premium content has a price tag on it and why people will pay it.
Today, the best news outlets and online presses have premium content locked behind a paywall. Vox, The Guardian, CNN, NBC News, Vice, NPR and countless others all provide users with quality content that is worth a read.
In order to get their hands on this content, users will most frequently encounter a paywall. There are a few different types that could pop up to get you to pay. The first is a ‘hard’ paywall. When a site employs this type, visitors can read one or two articles for free. However, when they exceed this, they will see a window prompting them for a paid subscription to read further.
A ‘metered’ paywall is another instance of subscription prompting. Site users can see a certain number of articles, typically anywhere from 5 to 20, prior to a paywall appearing. Sites like The New York Times implement this as visitors are welcome to read up to 10 free articles a month before having to subscribe for more. This model has been successful for The New York Times in terms of increasing digital revenue. Meredith Kopit Levien, the company’s company’s chief executive made a statement in 2020 reporting, “In 2020, we reached two key milestones, both of which we expect to be enduring: Digital revenue overtook print for the first time, and digital subscription revenue, long our fastest-growing revenue stream, is also now our largest.”
Lastly, visitors to a site may encounter a ‘freemium’ paywall. This allows users to read some articles for free with advertisements, but all premium content is locked behind a paywall.
For example, The Guardian uses a multi-level subscription model with the freemium as their lowest costing plan. A visitor has access to free articles but they have to see loads of ads. Once you subscribe to a higher plan, ads are removed and readers can view premium quality news.
Once you get past a paywall, the options for sourcing premium content are seemingly limitless— so long as you can afford it. Users can access popular video content on platforms like HBOmax, Netflix, and Hulu. Presses like the New York Times and the Guardian offer premium articles and news sources. Today most video games offer premium content locked behind paid upgrades and downloads. Online users can even use platforms like Invisibly to bypass paywalls and access premium content online.
If you are someone who enjoys premium content but not the price, Invisibly is here to help. Our platform allows you to easily earn points by sharing your data. With these points you can pass through paywalls to access the content you love. Invisibly’s platform has access to top news publications and digital presses so you can read as much as you want when you want. Take control of your data and make paywalls invisible. Start using Invisibly today to access more.