The past year has seen a decades’ worth of change in publishing. The creator economy took off, fuelled by competition between platforms and a subscriptions boom.
Many media have already jumped onto the subscriptions train; others are contemplating the move right now. To say this is a tectonic shift for the industry is no understatement.
But launching subscriptions is not an “end of history” for media. Rather we believe it is the beginning of an exciting phase of innovation and experimentation for the sector. We are proud to be part of this transformation, working together with Few¢ents, a Singapore-based fintech for publishers start-up.
A core feature of the Few¢ents solution (see demo here), is a dynamic paywall that allows publishers to charge per article (or video or podcast). By using an electronic wallet, users can access content they want with just a few clicks and minimal hassle (the first couple of articles are free).
Publishers pick the articles to lock, set the price, and the countries they want to cover. We believe this simple setup has the following advantages.
Generating incremental revenue. Publishers, especially smaller, more specialized players, are already well aware of the limitations of ad revenue, which offers a miniscule values per user and requires tons of traffic. However, only a small portion of potential readers is ready to subscribe.
Pay-per-article allows to monetize those occasional users are rates far beyond what can be attained via advertising. Once the relationship is established, you can move to the next level and convert people into regular subscribers with more tailored offers (using a range of analytics and tools).
Focusing on highest quality content. Generally speaking, there is too much content out there. Indeed, more and more publishers are finding that by reducing their output they can actually increase traffic and engagement.
Finding out what content people are ready to pay for ensures a more rigorous approach to this question. That typically means doing less, but better quality.
Support experimentation. Subscriber analysis is great – once people are registered, tracking consumption can help create personalized recommendations or creating personalized bundles.
But that only works for people already “through the door”. By analysing occasional users’ habits – and clustering them into more focused segments – publishers can create subscription offers that are better aligned with what users actually want.
Perhaps equally important, offers can be differentiated by geography. Few¢ents allows geo-fencing and accepts payments in 50+ currencies – so you can try new ideas on smaller markets before deploying them on “home turf”.
Expanding the sales funnel for recurring subscriptions. Few¢ents is not a replacement to classical subscriptions – much like AI-powered journalism does not replace editors. Rather, the idea behind Few¢ents is to create a tool that helps media build their funnels.
Few¢ents’ e-wallet lets you unlock the first article for free without a big upfront commitment (which users readers are increasingly worried about given “headache cancellation” horror stories).
This broader group of users – who already know your content and have a habit of paying – can then be targeted with more personalized offers (flexible pricing further lets publishers to get the mix just right).
We believe in reader-supported publications. That means focusing on quality content, but also providing services that users really need. But we are also mission-driven and want to make sure that important stories are accessible (especially for media working in more difficult parts of the world).
The Fix plans to launch a full subscription or membership model in the near future. But we don’t really know what it should look like.
We want to experiment and test our way to building something that is uniquely aligned to what our community needs – and we believe Few¢ents offers the perfect set of tools to do just that.
Moreover, The Fix will work with Few¢ents to help develop the product, tailoring it to publisher needs. As part of that, we’re looking for input about the payments pain points experienced by the media. Want to get involved? Write to us at email@example.com.