For quite sometime Facebook has been mulling over the idea of implementing a paywall on its site. And that idea could become a reality as early as October, according to Campbell Brown who heads up the social network’s new partnerships business.
“One of the things we heard in our initial meetings from many newspapers and digital publishers is that ‘we want a subscription product — we want to be able to see a paywall in Facebook,’” Brown revealed at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit. “And that is something we’re doing now. We are launching a subscription product.”
Facebook’s current plan is to work with a small number of publishers to introduce a system that would limit free viewing to 10 articles per month, as Digiday recently reported. After viewing 10 articles from the media company, a user would have the option to sign up for a subscription to that publication. Despite the fact that many publishers who operate a paywall allow varying numbers of free articles for visitors, a source to Facebook told Techcrunch that the number would be the same across all partners to ensure consistency for users.
According to Digiday, publishers will have access to all subscriber data, which is essential to understanding their audience better. Additionally, a proposal to let people buy bundles of publications from different companies is now off the table. Publishers also are expected to have full control over pricing.
It‘s still unclear how payment will be taken for subscribers that sign-up via the Facebook paywall. The social network is considering bypassing Google Play and Apple’s App Store to avoid the 30 percent cut that each operator takes from digital payments, according to Digiday.
The social media giant remains in talks with potential partners including The New York Times, Tronc, Hearst, The Economist, Germany’s Bild and the U.K.’s Telegraph.
“We’ve been briefed and are continuing to evaluate if we’re going to participate,” a senior executive at The New York Times told Digiday. “So far, we don’t see any great upside.”