So, Facebook is once again putting the needs of its partners above all others by adding paywalls to Instant Articles. The social media giant is going ahead with plans to help publishers on the platform make some money from their works. Over the next couple of weeks, the social media behemoth will be testing subscription models in Instant Articles to support a small group of publish across Europe and the US. It’s a small test that will only be limited to Android devices; but could be expanded to cover more partners soon.
Facebooks said the subscription model is a part of its ongoing Journalism Project. The project, according to the company, is geared towards listening to news publishers across the globe in order “to better understand their needs and goals, and collaborating more closely on the development of new products from the beginning of the process.”
“Earlier this year, many publishers identified subscriptions as a top priority, so we worked with a diverse group of partners to design, refine, and develop a test suited for a variety of premium news models,” Facebook said on Thursday. “We also heard from publishers that maintaining control over pricing, offers, subscriber relationships, and 100% of the revenue are critical to their businesses, and this test is designed to do that.”
Some of the partners that have been selected to be a part of the early test that will run over the next couple of weeks are: Bild, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Hearst (The Houston Chronicle and The San Francisco Chronicle), La Repubblica, Le Parisien, Spiegel, The Telegraph, tronc (The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Diego Union-Tribune), and The Washington Post.
Users can unlock content from any of the above listed partners or publishers by clicking on links they come across on Facebook. The subscription model has been structured in a way to let publishers keep 100 percent of the revenue, and so every transaction will take place on their websites. Whether you are premium or freemium member of Instant Articles, you will still be able to access the links.
Is there still any doubt to the question if Facebook is still a media company or not? The subscription test doesn’t provide any doubt or shall we just say it rubbishes any argument contrary to what many of us have been saying for a while now.
Flashback October 2016, Facebook added more monetization options to Instant Articles to help publishers make more money from the content they provide. That means you can now utilize larger and more flexible ad units with an aspect ratio of up to 2:3 if you make use of a direct sold ad business. Facebook is no doubt trying to put some smiles on the faces of its partners.
“Creating value for publishers using Instant Articles is extremely important to us, and it is critical to our mission of delivering the best mobile reading experience for people on Facebook. Publishers tell us they measure value from Instant Articles in terms of traffic growth and per-page monetization, so we have focused our investments in this product along those two dimensions,” Harshit Agarwal, Product Manager said in a post last October.