In the Hunt for Reader Revenue, Publishers Give Micropayments Another Look
Micropayments haven’t delivered on their promise to save the publishing business. But publishers are finding new uses for them in the hunt for new subscribers.
Both publishers and vendors are driving this shift, and it’s an early step in a long walk publishers have started to augment their advertising business.
“The focus had been so much on, ‘How do I package my audience to the benefit of my advertisers?’ said Melissa Chowning of Melissa Chowning Media, who helps publishers develop their digital audiences. “But now it’s going to be, ‘How can I slice and dice an audience to the benefit of my paid products?’ I think micropayments are going to be most relevant to publishers from a membership model standpoint.”
Micropayments gained momentum a few years ago, when startups including Inkl and Blendle began offering the opportunity to pay for the content you read by the article. Big-name publishers, including The New York Times, the Financial Times and The Economist, gave them a try; it didn’t cost them much, and it supported the idea that their content was worth paying for.