How Publications Like Vanity Fair Are Using Paywalls To Provide Exclusive Access
Media publications encourage subscription purchasing by offering in-depth and inciting content behind a paywall
Content has been devalued because consumers expect all online content to be free; therefore, publishers are struggling to generate revenue. In order to adapt to a new media landscape, they are attempting to reinvent their subscription models, enticing readers with value-added content and services.
Consumers are looking to media and publishing platforms to provide their expertise and exclusive access to premium content and services that complement free offerings and offer additional value. To meet this demand, media and publishing platforms are innovating in the loyalty and services space and providing customers with elevated paid membership experiences.
IAC-backed online comedy brand CollegeHumor is taking a membership-style approach, launching Dropout, a subscription product that will include original video series and other forms of media including digital comics and fictionalized chat conversations. Dropout has a tiered subscription model: $3.99 for the first three months, followed by $3.99 per month for an annual subscription; $4.99 per month for a six-month plan; and $5.99 per month for subscribers who want to pay on a monthly basis. It’s available online, with plans to launch mobile apps for iOS and Android devices in October.
The UK’s New Statesman’s paywall gives subscribers access to the digital version of the print magazine, what it’s calling NS Instant, two days before it hits the newsstand. The publisher is also introducing new products for subscribers: a new weekly podcast called “Prime Ministerial,” a historical look at the U.K.’s prime ministers; earlier access to its four other podcasts; a weekly email newsletter; and access to themed monthly events.
The Atlantic introduced its membership program to provide exclusive editorial offerings, like previews of upcoming features and weekly conversations with journalists, called The Masthead. In January 2018, readers will be able to choose between three subscription options for TheAtlantic.com: a digital subscription to The Atlantic’s site and app, a digital and print subscription, and both print and digital access plus membership to The Masthead. Additionally, the Atlantic’s metered paywall will allow readers to access 10 articles for free each month.
Vanity Fair membership offering includes a searchable archive of its articles and a subscriber-only newsletter. The company is also considering giving subscribers access to its writers and editors.
For more examples of how other media and publishing platforms are providing exclusive access to consumers download PSFK's report, Evolving Membership Ecosystems Through Paid Loyalty.