Politico announced on Thursday that it will test out a metered subscription model in six states and overseas, possibly leading to a permanent subscription method down the road.
Politico editor in chief John Harris, executive editor Jim VandeHei, and COO Kim Kingsley wrote in a memo to staff that it will serve as a test “that might not work.”
From the memo, via Politico’s Dylan Byers:
The collective decision by media companies to give away for free a product of high value and high cost will go down as one of the worst, self-defeating moves in the history of industry. Thankfully, there are some signs this is changing.
We need to emphasise that this is an experiment, and one that might not work. While some publications, such as The New York Times and The Financial Times, have seen great success in getting readers to pay, many others have not. It is clear smaller media companies are struggling to get enough readers to pay enough money to make an appreciable difference to the bottom line. It is also not clear to us that the metered system, while dominant today, is the best model for subscriptions in the long run. We chose it because it’s the most popular one in the market today and one quite familiar to most of our loyal readers.
The three also wrote that it would be unlikely that the publication would ever move to a paywall in Washington, D.C., which contains most of its readership.
They said that the calculation for future implications is simple: If Politico brings in more revenue through subscriptions than it would normally through ad revenue under its current model, it will likely adopt the model on a more permanent basis.
Politico didn’t immediately specify which six states it would test out the new model.
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