Publishers Are Generating Incremental Revenue - Without Cannibalizing Subscriptions
Paid digital content is becoming more common, with the decline in publisher ad revenues and shifts in tech trends working against publishers. Asking readers to pay for a subscription to access content was the natural first step in content monetization as a means to sustain the digital publishing business. We now know that only a very small portion of an audience will commit to a subscription and although the subscription remains the ultimate goal, many publishers have to look beyond the subscription model to effectively monetize their work.
Micropayments in publishing are not a brand new concept - in fact they were the norm in the physical world with readers buying single copies of newspapers and magazines without a commitment of a subscription. It has, however, been a challenge to apply this practice in the digital world due to the proportionally high processing cost associated with digital micropayments.
LaterPay not only gets around the challenges of the diminished profits on digital micropayments with the running tab concept, but we are also seeing that micropayments feed the subscription funnel instead of cannibalizing it. After several years of experience with the purchasing behavior of users on different publishing offers, we found that micropayments feed the conversion funnel to subscriptions.
Here is an example of a publisher that implemented LaterPay by initially only offering subscriptions. The second month they added the single article purchase offer. Over the course of the following few months we saw an increase in revenue from both microsales - in the form of individual articles, and in subscription sales. This shows that the two offers are serving two completely different segments of the publisher’s audience, thus they don’t cannibalize each other.
Our second example shows a publisher that implemented LaterPay with the single article purchase offer and a time-pass offer. After a longer testing phase the publisher followed the recommendation to start subscriptions. As one can see: users who became familiar with "paying for content" then chose the model which matches their needs and therefore overall revenue increases.
A third publication also added a subscription offering after implementing LaterPay with single purchases and time pass offerings first. They too experienced growth in subscriptions over time and were able to convert 5% of single purchasers and time pass purchasers into subscribers. We expect that number to significantly increase over time.
LaterPay responds to a variety of different user preferences and engagement levels. Monetizing content shouldn’t be an ‘all or nothing’ play. The most loyal segment of a publisher’s audience will see the value of a subscription, even if they are being presented with offers that do not require a commitment, and are likely to remain subscribers. And at the same time, less engaged readers will appreciate having the choice to pay for a single article that they really want to read or to buy access to the site for the day, like a single copy of the paper in the physical world. By offering micropayments, the publisher also eases the less engaged users into paying something for content, which ultimately builds value and helps convert more readers into subscribers.
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