Facebook is letting 10 media outlets charge readers subscriptions to view stories


Facebook is letting 10 media outlets charge readers subscriptions to view stories

Under the trial, which includes the Boston Globe, Germany's Bild and France's Le Parisien, Facebook mobile users can read 10 articles under a publication's paywall for free, or a selection of articles publishers allow access to, and will then be prompted to purchase a subscription on the publisher's website for full access.

It may also help soothe relations with some publishers, which often see their articles widely shared among Facebook's more than two billion monthly users but have found it hard to translate Facebook readers into paying subscribers.

Facebook said it's testing this with a "small group of publishers" in the United States and Europe, including The Boston Globe, The Economist, The Houston Chronicle, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Telegraph, The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and The Washington Post.

Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at the social giant, confirmed the effort back in July.

10 media outlets, including The Washington Post and The Telegraph, will introduce metered paywalls on Facebook's Instant Articles.

"Similarly, someone who is already a subscriber to a publication in the test can authenticate that subscription within Instant Articles in order to get full access to that publisher's articles", Facebook explained. "We also heard from publishers that maintaining control over pricing, offers, subscriber relationships, and 100 percent of the revenue are critical to their businesses, and this test is created to do that".

Each transaction will take place on the publisher's website and not Facebook, according to a spokesperson. Well now it's October, and surprise - Facebook has started testing subscription support for instant articles!

The decision for publishers to keep 100% of their subscription earnings is a big deal for businesses. Nevertheless, Apple reportedly views this as an in-app subscription which requires a 30% cut for Apple during the first 12-months.

Facebook says many of their partner publishers identified subscriptions as a top priority, and especially requested the ability to maintain control over pricing, offers, and all the revenue generated from each subscription.

"This initial test will roll out on Android devices first, and we hope to expand it soon", Facebook said, adding that the tool will roll out over the next few weeks.