Jan 23, 2018
For more than a decade, publishers attempted to grow ad-supported businesses that depended on massive scale and distribution of free content, but in recent years, many have acknowledged that purely advertising-based business models simply don’t work in a world in which Facebook and Google are vacuuming up nearly all ad dollars that migrate online. So they’ve begun asking their readers to pony up, launching various forms of paywalls that require paid subscriptions for those wanting to access gated content.
There are three kinds of paywalls that have emerged: there’s the hard paywall where virtually all content is gated off. There’s the metered paywall, where the user gets access to a certain number of free articles before the paywall is triggered. And then there’s the freemium model, where a publisher will publish most of its content for free while reserving extra goodies for those willing to pony up money.
So what should these extra goodies be? Discounted tickets to live events? Access to a private Slack channel? Physical objects? Or just exclusive content? To answer this question, I interviewed Adam Rowe, a journalist for Tech.Co. Rowe recently wrote about subscription services and argued that publishers should put their best content in front of the paywall. He explained his reasoning in our interview.