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Five Truths Publishers Need To Accept To Remain Profitable In 2019

2019 is set to be the most challenging year yet for journalism, and editors and journalists alike face an enormous task: finding a way to incorporate readers into the publishing equation in order to remain profitable. In this article, LaterPay Founder and CEO, Cosmin Ene, proposes five truths that publishers must recognize this year in order to successfully monetize their digital content and keep their readers, rather than their investors, top of mind.

How Publishers are Creating the Right Membership Model for Their Readers

Today’s news publishers are facing difficult situations, among them selecting the best membership model suited for their consumers. LaterPay spoke with Editor & Publisher  about its new initiative inspired by the newsstand paper. Called the digital single copy, it is essentially a 24-hour pass to a publication’s entire website or app.

Existing payment tools can turn one-off users into subscribers

The holy grail of payments providers working within the digital media space is, and has been, converting users to subscribers. The roadblock: How do you ease consumers that are used to getting their content for free into paying for content?

Rather than looking to the future and trying to predict the shiny, new technology and solution that will solve our current woes, we would be better served looking into and improving upon the solutions already available to us.

How Micropayments Can Move Readers Through the Subscription Funnel

For the past decade, methods of generating revenue from readers have veered from metered models to subscriptions, and most recently to memberships. But these are all centered on the notion that a user is willing to pay multiple publishers for ongoing access to content. That’s simply not going to happen.

With subscription numbers in the U.S. and Europe plateauing, publishers are now forced to explore alternative ways to grow revenue. Micropayments open up new revenue inroads and enable publishers to establish value with engaged users, creating a path to onboarding readers and converting them into paying subscribers.

The Digital Publishing IOU

The challenges publishers face in the digital age haven’t gone away. The initial conundrum over how to monetize web-based content has intensified as the programmatic landscape becomes more sophisticated, but also tainted by fraud. In the early days, legacy magazines and newspapers tried to replace dwindling print subscription revenue with paywalls. But paywalls and digital subscriptions, conventional wisdom goes, are an affront to the free flow of information for which everybody loved the Internet to begin with.

Within the digital-first business model that has been taken on by nearly all publications that aren’t, for instance, high-end fashion or architecture magazines, clicks are king. But what keeps consumers from clicking through to content – money, or some other obstacle?

Micropayments & Media – Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

A number of micropayments models, particularly in media, have historically failed as a result of three general, and very addressable, issues: a burdensome purchasing process, processing fees, and a poor user experience. Consumers will use—and frequently prefer—micropayments when implemented correctly. The key is making sure the experience benefits both the buyer and the seller.

See ways to overcome the challenges surrounding micropayments in media...

What's Wrong With The Traditional Publishing Model In The Digital Age?

Like many other kids growing up in the 1980s, one of my first jobs was as a paperboy, delivering the news to my neighbors. But you don’t see the paperboy around much these days.

Instead, the publishing model has been turned on its head, in large point due to the internet. We consume our content online, yet it seems as if many publishers are still reveling in the time when the news was delivered by hand.

During that golden age, publishers had a captive audience: perennial subscribers who relied on having the news brought to them. That regular stream of revenue was a boon to publishers as it allowed them to reliably plan their cash flow. That model has not transitioned well in the digital age and runs contrary to how people consume content on the internet. After all, with all the content available online, why would anyone want to subscribe to just one publication in order to get their news and entertainment? And they cannot be expected to subscribe to them all, either. Instead, publishers need to adapt to survive, embracing a variety of strategies and models to serve their audience.

How to make your digital readers want to pay — from micropayments to social media subscriptions

As continuous media publishers announce paywalls for their premium content, so are consumers becoming more aware and demanding of the content they read online. This has created a debate, covering a user-willingness to prioritize, and pay for, digital news. Though lately, it seems, the focus has slightly shifted. No longer is the debate asking ‘will consumers pay for quality content?’, but rather ‘how many different subscriptions can a consumer put up with?’

With Quartz, The Information and Axios spearheading the subscription models a few years back, showing the payoff of a paywall, other actors have followed ready to find inventive ways for newsroom monetisation. And the outcome is of considerable size. Call-to-action micro support payment seems to have worked well for The Guardian. The new project The Correspondent put their trust in pay-what-you-can-memberships. The Economist and The New York Times, among others, work with a ‘soft paywall’ that will allow for a small amount of free articles per week.

Cosmin Ene, Founder & CEO of LaterPay, sees that a combination of choice and trust based models will help publishers succeed in monetising more users going forward. He describes that with their patented Pay-Later model, where readers do not pay until they’ve reached a $5 threshold, they help onboard users into paying customers.

In the hunt for reader revenue, publishers give micropayments another look

Micropayments haven’t delivered on their promise to save the publishing business. But publishers are finding new uses for them in the hunt for new subscribers. Both publishers and vendors are driving this shift, and it’s an early step in a long walk publishers have started to augment their advertising business.

Some companies, including LaterPay, have tried to get around this problem by letting users run up tabs and then pay for their consumption later. Others, like the Winnipeg Free Press, started using micropayments as an addendum to a paywall. The Free Press began selling its content for 27 Canadian cents (21 U.S. cents) per article about two years ago. It still does but now sees micropayments less as a revenue stream and more as a way to see who to target for digital subscriptions.