Paywalls for Online Content: More Publishers Signing On

Pando is the latest publisher to use paywalls for online content; plus, Time Inc. digital keeps experimenting, and what is growth hacking, anyway?

Paywalls for online content are a work in progress, as publishers perfect the strategy with tiers, bundles, memberships, and other tactics. But there’s no question that they have a place at the table when it comes to generating revenue.

Recently, Publishing Executive covered the most recent digital magazine to opt in to using paywalls for online content: Pando, née PandoDaily, announced on June 22 that there’s no longer any such thing as a free read on their site. Actually, that’s not quite true – read on for the details. Also read on for stories on a new Time Inc. digital partnership and an interesting take on growth hacking for publishers.

Paywalls for Online Content: Pando Pursues the Freemium Model

Pando will now charge $10, or $100 annually up front, for articles, video, and other content – plus membership features yet to be announced – but its model has a twist similar to its 2013 NSFWCORP, PubExex reports.

“Don’t want to pay to read Pando? That’s ok. Members have the power to ‘unlock’ articles to share with the rest of the world via social media and email. Unlocked links remain open for 48 hours. if there’s something you want to read but find it locked, just hit up a member and ask them to unlock it for you. Or keep an eye on Pando’s Twitter feed – we’ll publish regular links to unlocked articles,” wrote CEO Sarah Lacy and Editorial Director Paul Carr in an announcement.

“To coincide with our new membership model, we’ve spent months redesigning Pando from the ground up, including moving away from WordPress VIP to our own in-house CMS. For your security, all pages are now served via https by default. We’ve also moved to a daily publishing model — with the bulk of the day’s stories published each morning at 9am pacific. To make things even more efficient, members will receive an email every morning containing summaries of all the top stories.”


Lacy and Carr emphasized the need for multiplatform diversification, a concept Mequoda Members know quite well.

“We appreciate our advertisers, and we love hosting events, but for Pando to stay both fiercely independent and healthily solvent we knew we needed to add a third leg – subscription revenue – to the stool. Print publications have understood this for centuries. Online publications are slowly catching on. The big question was where to strike the balance between free content and paid.”

Time Inc. digital is another recent convert to paywalls for online content, with Entertainment Weekly leading the charge.

Time Inc. Digital Is Hooked on Trivia Crack

Speaking of Time Inc. digital, it seems like the media company is making news every week. This time around, it’s their new partnership with Etermax, the company that produces game app Trivia Crack. The appeal for Time Inc. is simple: 74 million Americans have downloaded Trivia Crack, many of them categorized as Millennials, and the game will integrate current events news taken straight from Time Inc. digital content, PubExec reports.

What Is Growth Hacking? Hint: It Involves Audience Development

Interesting piece on growth hacking for publishers by Ellen Harvey, via an interview with Mezzobit CEO Joseph Galarneau, former Newsweek and The Daily Beast digital general manager. In it, Galarneau discusses how publishers can take a startup approach to publishing. Highly recommended!

Do you use paywalls for online content? How are they working out? Let us know in the comments!

To read more about paywalls for online content in the news, visit Publishing Executive.


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