Publishers are no longer giving away content for free. Only two percent of publishers provide readers with more than 16 articles per month for free before hitting a paywall. Nearly six in ten publishers that the Shorenstein Center analyzed put their metered paywalls at five articles or less per month.
Metered paywalls are a data-centered enterprise, constantly evaluating data to restrict access based on different user behaviors. Targeted, metered access in this way optimizes the stop rate, which measures how many users hit the paywall. Among news organizations that the Shorenstein Center studied, those that had thriving and robust digital-subscriptions were those with a high stop rate. Those organizations identified users engaging in their content and offered them a way to pay for the content through the paywall, which increases the chances that some of these readers will convert into paying subscribers.
Over the past decade, publishers have moved away from business models that center advertising revenue, instead focusing their efforts on digital subscriptions. A successful digital subscription model relies on being able to provide high-quality, unique content, identify what readers want and then restrict that at appropriate points for non-paying users.
This chart shows the share of online publishers by number of free articles in front of their paywall per month.
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