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Spotlight on ‘Metered Content Models’

November 9, 2015 | Lucy Penn

Spotlight on ‘Metered Content Models’

The first post in PageSuite’s Subscription Series blog is centred on the metered model. Metered subscriptions permit customers to view a certain amount of free content before a paywall appears.

Once readers have reached their article limit, a small pop-up notification appears with a call to action to subscribe for a small fee. This model is particularly popular amongst publishers as it typically allows them to attract customers with the free content.

Metered subscriptions were pioneered by the Financial Times and Daily Telegraph who have both reported huge successes since the introduction. The Financial Times’ 2014 results showed that the metered model helped them to reach a print and digital circulation of 720,000. Profits have also tripled each year. The CEO of the FT, John Ridding, said “Eight years ago we launched the metered model which has been fantastically successful. It’s been a real source of transformation and a good source of contribution to the business.”[1] The Telegraph also reported a profit of £55million in 2014 as a result of the implementation of a metred paywall.[2]

The retention rate for content with metered subscriptions is also considerably higher compared with other models such as hard paywalls. The average retention rate for newspapers using metered paywalls is 58.5%, with some reporting as much as 90% reader retention![3]

The metered subscription model is also beneficial for consumers. They are able to sample the app/digital publication for a period of time before they commit to a subscription. Ridding commented on the concept behind this, he said “The theory is that within that they can build a habit, and then become a subscriber.” The success of this theory is clearly proven by the reported retention rates.

Metered subscriptions appear to have benefits for both the publisher and consumer. With a proven success rate for circulation, revenue and retention, the metered model is certainly a successful strategy for many.