What’s Beyond The Paywall?

Posted on May 9, 2019
 

Your content, and that’s not a bad thing.

At first glance, paywalls seem daunting. The internet was built on the promise of free, easily accessible content. A generation was brought up during the wild west days of the early internet where the only thing you paid for was each hour spent online unless of course, you had these on hand:

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Now, times have changed and the internet has become a pillar of our global society. Trillion dollar companies have formed, individuals are more connected than ever, and an infinite library of content is available at your fingertips. The internet has evolved and has gone beyond the desktop — it lives through our mobile devices, our tablets, and even our televisions.

For a large number of content creators and media publishers, being online isn’t a question or a possibility, but a way of being while the real question looms overhead

“How do I generate revenue from my content”?

Paywalls are a tool of engagement that can help generate additional revenue streams. Wired recently shared their experiences with a paywall and among several learnings, they discovered an increase in the number of new digital subscribers in the first year by nearly 300% over the year before. No matter how big your brand is or how wide your scope is there is one ideal that holds true.

Quality Content Deserves A Healthy ROI

This could mean steering your OTT channel towards an ad-based strategy with pre-roll ads to take advantage of increased viewer engagement — much like what Wired has done with their OTT channel.

While an ad-based strategy is traditional and effective, for certain content you can build an additional revenue stream by placing it behind one of two types of paywalls.

Hard Paywall

A hard paywall will require a paid subscription before any type of content can be released. This is most effective if you can provide added value to your content, target a specific niche (but dedicated) audience, or have a strong position in your own market space.

Forbes, which has a legacy name and a looming presence in the business world uses this model for their mobile app, placing their full issues behind a hard paywall.

This brings added value to a Forbes subscription as it will enable you to access Forbes content across a number of devices. Forbes is also leveraging the increased engagement that comes from having a mobile app by pairing its paywall with the free news and video content that can also be seen on Forbes.com

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Soft (or metered) Paywall

This strategy allows your users to access your content for a set amount of time or views before implementing a hard paywall. That amount is up to you and can be set either by articles viewed or time spent viewing the content. This allows you to retain traffic from light users in the hopes of keeping them engaged and bringing them into your funnel for conversion to a full-fledged subscription.

Bloomberg Businessweek offered article metering on their mobile app where after users have run through their allotment of 4 free articles, they can submit their email or social credentials to extend their article previews. This allows Bloomberg to remarket to high intent prospects to significantly improve subscription sign-ups resulting in a 30% increase in subscription conversion rates on mobile.

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See what works for you

Each brand will need a different monetization strategy, whether it’s to roll out an ad-based strategy, enhance a subscription model, or to increase conversions with either viewed-based or time-based metering, a content logistics system like MAZ can help you implement a monetization strategy that fits your needs.

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