Paywall: Paid content as a success model for publishers

Media houses and publishers have long been exploring the opportunities and options in terms of capitalising on the new digital channels. Payment models such as micropayments, digital subscription sales and shops have become the tried and tested standard.

One model that is currently very popular is the use of what is known as a "paywall", which allows certain content of a website to be displayed only once a fee has been paid or a subscription has been concluded, for example. The models "freemium" and "metered paywall" are currently the most widespread. The "freemium" model is based on the splitting of content into a free and a charged premium area. The premium content is often exclusive reports or background articles. Information and news that is available free of charge on other websites usually remains free of charge with this model. The decision as to which content is to be charged and which is to be free is often made by the editorial team itself. One advantage is the low risk factor for dropping user figures due to the areas of the website that are still freely accessible, whereby the reach of the publication is able to increase further and advertising income remains significant.

With a "metered paywall", customers get a certain number of views or are able to spend a certain period of time viewing content. Only then does a message – which blocks the viewing of other articles for a set period – appear to prompt users to make a payment or purchase a subscription . Index pages, i.e. primarily overviews, are not affected by the paywall: only the pages containing the articles are blocked. Search engines can continue displaying all available online articles and customers accessing certain content through a search engine or external link can read the article in question. The block only applies to surfing on the website. This model is used by the New York Times, for example, and on the website of DIE WELT. The advantages are obvious: First-time visitors and visitors who only rarely make use of the offer can continue to do so. Costs are only charged after regular use and to users who are already convinced by the quality of an offer.

InterRed supports both the freemium model and the metered paywall model, as well as other market-relevant paywall models, and provides a suitable solution in conjunction with its web content management and editing system.