Apparently Facebook is in the midst of testing a new subscription model for your favourite groups page. Not necessarily for actual publishers such as newspapers or magazines. This could be yet another significant impact on the magazine industry which is already struggling with subscription decline and print circulation declines.
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According to Gizmodo, a technology publication, Facebook is looking at price ranges from $5 to $30/month. And would add badges and enable subscribers more direct access to the groups content creators. We hesitate to call them journalists. Currently the system is a bit clunky with creators having to use a free site, then a paid one and managing it all with PayPal.
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The subscription business model is fast becoming a de facto standard in the digital realm. Arguably popularized by Netflix.
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For media publishers, this becomes yet another challenge in fighting for consumer subscriptions. At the top end, $30 is rather high, but obviously Facebook is testing price elasticity. To some degree, this follows the rise of patron supported content as well, like Patreon and Twitch does. But is the goal of Facebook so lofty as patron supported content or is it a snub at news media and magazine publishers yet again?
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It will certainly create a new tension in the already tense dynamics of publishers, casual creators and major social media platforms. Our initial assessment is that this will erode the value of Facebook to publishers even further. But then again, consumers are also turning away from social media as a news source and Facebook may be trying to use subscription models to imply value. That’s unlikely to work.
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What are your thoughts?

About the Author Giles Crouch

Giles is managing partner of Ekspansiv, a global digital business advisory firm to news media companies . A polymath with over 20 years experience in the digital world, Giles brings together marketing communications, digital anthropology and digital behavioural economics for client projects. He has extensive experience with news media and publishing. Giles is also regularly interviewed by media regarding technology and industry trends. He has completed over 300 digital research projects for clients around the world. Giles co-founded the Ice Awards, an advertising creative awards program in 2001. His clients have included, newspaper, magazine and book publishers as well as pure-play digital media companies. He occasionally works as interim CIO or CDO and senior marketing guidance.

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