Read at Axios
Many news companies are abandoning hard subscriptions and experimenting with flexible paywalls and membership models. TechCrunch is shuttering its subscription service TC+ and focusing on coverage around investors. The Washington Post is considering dynamically priced subscriptions to attract more subscribers. Other companies, such as Time, Quartz, The Atlantic, Gannett, and the Chicago Sun-Times, have also moved away from strict paywalls to reach broader audiences with more ad-supported content or membership models. While some major outlets have succeeded in scaling their subscriber bases, many others have struggled to maintain momentum.
A strategy focused mainly on subscriptions requires upfront spending on premium content. That takes time to pay off - and many publishers don't have the cushion for that in the current ad slowdown.
Simply implementing a paywall without a comprehensive strategy can hurt news companies by decreasing ad revenues and failing to attract enough new subscribers. Many outlets have found that throwing up a paywall over previously free content is not effective. This shift away from hard subscriptions is driven by the need to adapt to the volatile advertising market and find new sources of revenue in the face of declining ad sales. Publishers are looking for more innovative approaches, such as flexible paywalls, membership models, and ad-supported content, to reach and monetize their audiences.
At the same time, many outlets have learned that simply throwing a paywall up over your previously free content doesn't work either. It throttles ad revenue without capturing enough new subscribers.