Facebook has decided to test a paywall in its Instant Articles feature over the next few weeks, beginning with Android and not iOS devices involving selected publishers in the US and Europe.
Publishers selected to take part in the trial run are Bild, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Hearst-owned properties 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.
In a post on Thursday, the social media giant said, “This is a direct result of the work we’re doing through the Facebook Journalism Project. We’re listening to news publishers all over the world to better understand their needs and goals.”
The statement said that Facebook will be experimenting with two different models: one that allows for 10 free articles before a subscription is needed to see more content, and a “freemium” version that allows publishers to dictate which articles are free and which live behind the paywall.
Facebook also said that by clicking the paywall, the subscribers will be taken to the website of the publishers, who will get to keep 100% revenue of the subscription.
In July, Campbell Brown, the head of the company’s news partnerships, said Facebook will launch a subscription-based news product with initial tests beginning in October.
“Similarly, someone who is already a subscriber to a publication in the test can authenticate that subscription within Instant Articles in order to get full access to that publisher’s articles,” Facebook statement added.
In 2017 alone, the average revenue per page view has increased over 50 per cent, and Instant Articles pays out more than $1 million per day to publishers via Audience Network.