Since its inception, the paywall has been considered one of the main alternative sources of generating publisher revenue and creating demand for user subscriptions. However not all paywalls are the same and the method of implementation can also differ depending on an organization’s resource levels and execution method. Racing Post, who claims to have had a paywall setup in the 2000’s, before New York Times itself has as of January 2017, seen its internal paywall system rebuilt through MPP Global; a third party e-commerce platform empowering publishers to monetise digital content and physical publications.
Racing Post, a British daily horse racing, greyhound racing, and sports betting newspaper began its digital transformation in 2011. James De Wesselow, Head of Subscriptions spoke about how their shift towards a customer-driven model, by providing a mixture of industry news, product updates and ‘lighter’ content for racing fans, including quizzes, videos, and competitions since then, has enabled Racing Post to strengthen its digital content strategy. He also said, “With a greater insight into its customers, Racing Post can remain the leading horse racing and lifestyle newspaper in the UK and continue to grow its loyal readership”.
Racing Post previous internal paywall was set up as a standalone metered usage for news only, which complicated things once their content strategy was diversified across a multiplatform solution. Given the advancements of web network protocols and safety standards, security was one of the other reasons why they decided to take this project to a third-party subscription management provider.
To validate the significance of subscription management solutions, even marketplace giant Amazon has as of the end of April announced the launch of its services subscription business, where the likes of SlingTV, The Wall Street Journal, and Headspace will sell their subscriptions. This is all part of their strategy to become a one-stop shop, provide supplemental revenue and provide flexibility to the products consumers can subscribe to or purchase.
As reported by MPP Global, this latest paywall roll-out is expected to see Racing Post’s subscriber numbers increase by 30% for the year ahead.
Whether or not paywall solutions are sustainable comes down to how the product has been built and how easily it can be distributed. E-commerce is continually on the rise and is becoming a real solution to providing subscription services for monetizing content. Whether a paywall is built internally or through a third-party provider, having new data functionality to generate insightful audience and subscriber profiles, and technical features to allow users to create and promote new content packages helps to grow subscriptions and reduce churn.
What examples of paywalls have you seen working or that can be improved?
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