In an apparent strategy to find a solution to the objections raised by traditional publishers who had reservations to part with their print stories for free, social media platform Facebook announced its plans to introduce a paywall for content providers, according to an Ecommercetimes.com report.Last week, Campbell Brown, Head of Facebook's new alliance division had announced the company's new plan at a New York digital media forum, where he chalked out the strategy for monetizing the news content that triggers a bulk of the user engagement on Facebook.Stating that the members of Facebook are showing a propensity to have their first read of daily news on FB, Brown says that the social media firm is negotiating with a number of news publishers as to how they can work together and better support subscription business models on FB."As part of the FB journalism project, we are in talks with our partners in order to comprehend their needs", Brown said. Later this year, according to Brown, the firm will test its paywall model with a few publishers, where the readers would be given access to, say, ten free articles a month, provided they should subscribe for the rest of the articles.According to industry grapevine, a more brilliant version is on the anvil for next year. Along with Brown, Fidji, his colleague had met many publishers from New York as well as Paris and explained to them about the plan. Facebook is in talks with a slew of top publishers and getting their feedback on their plans, the report pointed out.
Collective Bargaining StrategyIt is interesting to note that the FB announcement comes barely a week after the News Media Alliance, which represents 2,000 news organizations in the U.S. and Canada, urging the Congress to pass legislation that would allow it to engage in collective bargaining with Facebook and Google, which dominate most of the online consumption of news content and control 70% of digital advertising revenue, according to the alliance.Apparently, the two firms are stepping up pressure on the publishers to give up their rights and play by their rules, quoting Paul Boyle, News Media Alliance SVP of public policy said and added, “Their dominance has forced publishers to try and exercise more control. Basically, what you've seen is a commoditization of the news, where many people can't tell the difference between real news and fake news reports.”Gradual EvolutionAccording to Rick Edmonds, Media Business Analyst at Poynter, Face Book is responding, albeit slowly and with a slew of initiatives to help publishers and partners. This is a constructive step, but not necessarily transformative. Therefore it fits the current trend of publishers asking digital readers to pay a bigger share of their costs -- a bit ironically, in that Facebook and Google are sucking up nearly all the digital ad growth. It would be mildly surprising if Google, or especially Twitter, should follow suit, Edmonds said.Facebook's move is part of a natural progression, as the company finally is taking ownership of the fact that it operates as a publisher and is a major information source for many readers, quoting the analyst at Midia Research Zack Fuller as saying, the report said."The argument that FaceBook is simply a platform for news content no longer washes, when we consider the scale of its user base and the fact that it's increasingly becoming many people's core news source away from TV and print”, Fuller told the news portal.Instant Articles platformFacebook is eventually planning for the subscription to operate through its Instant Articles platform. Besides having freemium options, the publishers will have full control over locked and unlocked articles. Furthermore, the publishers will also have full control over their subscriber data, besides being able to authenticate existing subscribers.