Facebook has begun to offer subscription support for its mobile-friendly Instant Articles in test form just one month after pledging to do so - part of a collaborative effort between the social media network and a limited number of publishers spanning the US and Europe.
These include the likes of Bild, The Boston Globe, The Economist, Hearst, La Repubblica, Le Perisien, Spiegel, The Telegraph and The Washington Post who will each be offered a metred or freemium paywall in which Facebook users will either be given a limited number of articles to read before they have to pay or find access to specific pieces locked as set by the publisher.
Non-subscribers will then be presented with the opportunity to pay in order to retrieve the required content, with any transactions carried out directly on the publisher’s own website – from which they will retain 100% of all revenue. This control will extend to pricing and subscriber data.
Initially available on Android devices only, the trial service is a product of the Facebook Journalism Project which seeks to furnish publishers with an improved toolset with which to meet their own goals and objectives.
In a blog post, Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships, Alex Hardiman, head of news product, and Sameera Salari, product manager wrote: “Earlier this year, many publishers identified subscriptions as a top priority, so we worked with a diverse group of partners to design, refine, and develop a test suited for a variety of premium news models. We also heard from publishers that maintaining control over pricing, offers, subscriber relationships, and 100% of the revenue are critical to their businesses, and this test is designed to do that.”
Facebook will also allow publishers to add logos to their links in another concession to established media.