Why Paywalls are Coming, and it’s Nothing You Can Do About It
As technology grows, newspaper publishers are moving to websites to share their newfound stories and news highlights. This has been very convenient since posting on sites is cheaper and less complicated compared to printing out the newspapers. Currently, four out of ten households purchase printed publications while the rest access news stories from their mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops. Printing fewer newspapers have reduced expenditure on the corporate’s end.
How do these Newspaper Companies make Money if they Publish Stories Online?
In case you are not aware of the online publishing and money making process, here is a brief outline. So, traditionally, newspaper companies made and still make money every time a reader purchases a print. The other form of making money is through advertisements posting in the newspaper. This happens when a company wants to market a certain service, product, or offer and buys space in the paper. This company has to pay the press for that space.
When it comes to publishing the same newspaper content online, the primary method of earning revenue is through advertising. Just like they sell space in newspapers, the same happens on their websites. Advertising can be either through ad services like Google Adsense or direct contacts with the corporate world. The traditional method and digital media both rely on a number of readers to get corporate’s to advertise on their platforms.
This is where the challenge comes in. Using ad services has become an irritant to readers of websites and blogs. With tech gurus creating ad blockers for sites, newspaper companies are losing big time. This is where they are supposed to get their revenue, but now, someone has created a plugin that users install on their browsers to help block advertisements when they access websites.
How Ad Blockers Work
First and foremost, ad blockers are browser extensions or plugins that remove advertising content on a website. An ad blocker is developed by setting a list of scripts that it should not allow during a site load. So, when a user activates the ad blocker and loads a web page, the plugin or extension peruses the page’s script to match them with the list of scripts or sites it was instructed to block. If it finds a match, it blocks. Common ad services are usually first on the block list, so using them has become a risky move for most online publishers.
The Introduction of Paywalls
With ad blockers reducing the chances of websites making good money, the Paywall service was introduced. This is a service that works like the traditional purchase to read method. Users have to pay a few Dollars to access the newspaper site content. Providers have a number of plugins that include the WordPress Paywall that protects websites and blogs made using the CMS. This was a good move since it helps publishers to earn. If we take the New York Times online publishing website as an example, we can see how they have been making roughly more than ten million dollars annually on paywall. This is a convenient way of making money compared to staying without advertising and hoping the ad scripts you use will not be in the ad blocker’s list.
Why Paywalls Did Not Work in The Past
Paywall was first introduced in the mid-2000s. During this period, it was not as successful as it should have been. This was due to several reasons. The main one was competition in the industry. A general topic publication like the New York Times got competition from newspapers like The Huffington Post. Note that these are both big and popular publications with the massive readership. However, as the New York Times implemented the Paywall system, Huffington Post maintained free readership. Comparing these two, some factors made the previous publication flop on Paywall.
- It features diverse content while the Huffington Post focuses on business posts. This means that if a reader wants business news, they will go for the free and quality posts on the Huffington Post website and ignore the New York Times’ paid content.
- With high traffic, websites like Huffington Post make more money with advertising compared to the New York Times’ paywall subscription. The ten million dollars per year that the New York Times made from Paywall was not enough to cover the amount spent on collecting news posts.
- Search engines were not able to access content on the New York Times site to rank it for readers to find them easily. Every website wants search engines to rank their content. This is one of the best ways to get new readers to your website without advertising your content.
The New York Times eventually took down their Paywall system and continued with the free content and advertising tradition. However, Paywall is now back, and more sites are incorporating the plugin in their websites.
The Purchasing of Content Evolution
Users are now familiar with and have gotten used to purchasing applications on the App store for $0.99. They will purchase such products if:
- They hear praises about the efficiency of the application
- They have used a free demo and found it worth purchasing
- They have used products for the same company before and trust their applications
This Purchase-to-use method should be introduced in websites and desktop apps as well. A good move will be if all the main publications start using the plugin. This way, instead of losing subscribers to free publications, they maintain their subscribers and get them to pay for content. You can sell your website content if you know that you get first-hand information easily and before other publishers, have high-quality content to give you the authority in the industry, and your images and videos are of quality and can be freely distributed under copyright, among other factors.
The Paywall Future and Blockchain Technology
As concluded, advertising on web pages is slowly diminishing due to the ad blocker existence. This means that the whole journalism industry is under siege. Using a paywall and blockchain technology can boost microtransactions for an online publisher.
Microtransactions are typically used to get revenue through purchasing products like applications. This revenue is used to cater for expenditure calculated during the development process and the workforce. When it comes to reporting news in the media industry, a lot is involved, including traveling to the news scene and paying journalists and the whole production team. Therefore, selling this content helps cover for the next field work and salaries for the media team. You can use blockchain technology to increase your chances of success with Paywall. This also ensures the security of payment details of the user and assures the reader makes a payment that is also received by the publication. After this, the user can access the website content.
Introducing a digital paywall results in a higher chance of succeeding with more prominent publications compared to smaller or newer ones since they already have traffic that is familiar with their quality and type of content. When it comes to spending money on content, readers will prefer a known publisher. New and small publications can try out free content until they gather wholesome traffic and get some industry authority or popularity. Then, they can introduce a Paywall slowly to their subscribers.