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Facebook Testing Subscription Model for News on Android

Oct 19, 2017
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Facebook is going to be testing out a subscription model for various Instant Articles in the news category. The new subscription model is only going to be tested out on Android for now. You should see this test over the next few weeks. The Instant Articles with the subscription model is only going to be in the United States and Europe. That is, at least for right now. This means that Facebook soon will have pay-walled content, just like Facebook confirmed back in August. Read on to learn more about the subscription model for the news content.

Subscription Model Being Tested on Facebook News Instant Articles

While this news subscription model is only going to be tested on Android at first, we expect to see it rolled out across other platforms soon as well. If you are wondering what news organizations are going to be featured in the test, we have compiled a list of some of these organizations. The Houston Chronicle, The Economist, Bild, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Telegraph are all included. The Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Le Parisien, Spiegel, and The Baltimore Sun also are part of this deal.

The subscriptions for the Instant Articles will run in two different models. The first subscription model will be where you get the first 10 articles for free. After those 10 articles, you will need to pay and subscribe in order to see more of the content. There also will be a freemium subscription model, which is where the publishers will decide which articles to put up for free. The publishers then will be able to decide which articles should go behind the paywall. Facebook claims the publisher will be able to keep all of the revenue and the publisher will be the one handling the transaction.

Facebook Testing Subscription Model for News on Android

The fact of the matter is that Facebook can really only test out this feature on Android. That is because Apple already has rules in place about subscription services within apps on iOS devices. Apple requires that the company keep 30 percent of the generated revenue from those in-app sales.

Apple considers the subscription in Facebook to be an in-app transaction, even though it will happen outside of the Instant Articles itself. This means that Facebook cannot get around the 30 percent rule, and therefore, is choosing to test this new subscription model out on Android.

It has been a couple years since Facebook first introduced the Instant Articles. It has taken a while for the publishers to catch onto the concept. The publishers were worried about less revenue coming in due to the formatting of Instant Articles. There are less advertisements on the Instant Articles and also it does not direct to the website of the publisher.

The quick load times and the Facebook distribution aspect of Instant Articles did get a lot of publishers to finally agree to this new format. The issue is that many other problems kept coming up for Instant Articles. Those problems stopped it from really getting off of the ground. Some publishers did end up leaving the Instant Articles format. The most notable that left was The New York Times. It seems Facebook is now trying to keep these publishers happy. The company thinks making a subscription model available so they can make more revenue is the answer.