Expansion for Subscription Websites Focuses on Tight Paywalls, Strong Relationships, and More Content

Building relationships and high-quality content serve subscription websites like Scribd, The Telegraph, and Food52

Do you remember when subscription websites started using paywalls to add a new revenue stream to their publication? There was much debate about the process, including the rate to charge customers for access.

The question of price is still a hot topic by some publishers, and we’re seeing that in a recent article from Digiday called The Telegraph is tightening its paywall.

The article states, “The Telegraph has tightened its paywall strategy this week, after three years of running metered access to its website. The national newspaper wants to win more paying subscribers, and has rolled out Telegraph Premium, a subscription service for between £2 ($2.50) and £6 ($7.50) a week.  About 20 percent of Telegraph content will be available only to Premium subscribers; the remaining 80 percent will remain free to access, including all video.”


This is being done because, according to Robert Bridge, the chief customer officer, the company wants to “increase engagement with readers.”

As The Telegraph focuses on its tighter paywall, Scribd is adding more content to its subscription offerings.

A press release from Scribd talks about the new content being offered. “Scribd, the premier reading subscription service that offers monthly access to books, audiobooks, documents and more, is broadening its offering to give subscribers access to premium magazine content from leading media publishers including Bloomberg, Entrepreneur Media, IBT Media, New York Media, Slate Group, LLC, and Time Inc. Subscribers can now enjoy access to articles from current and archive print editions of top brands such as Time, Money, Fortune, People, Bloomberg Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Foreign Policy and New York Magazine. Issues from Newsweek and The Atlantic will be added in the coming weeks. Magazines will be included in the current Scribd membership, at no extra cost, in addition to books, audiobooks, documents and more.”

Subscription website publishers and e-commerce providers have to pay close attention to their products and how they are building and retaining their audiences. An article on Digiday called Three ways publishers are bringing sophistication to e-commerce discusses these processes and provides additional insight from some publishing professionals.

Food52 is an example of one of these publishers. The company earns two-thirds of its revenue through product sales. The article states, “And a key way Food52 drives those sales is by fostering community, according to COO Bridget Williams. That means lot of the content is either reader recipes or responds to reader needs, like a hotline where readers ask product and recipe questions. That same strategy applies to products. A third of the products it sells are exclusives, and it has allowed readers to vote on what color items should be before they go on sale at the site. “If you try to weld on a commerce appendage with no POV, community or credibility, you will fail,” Williams said.”

We certainly agree that fostering relationships and with your audience is a major way of succeeding, particularly with subscription websites.



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