The Impact of Facebooks’ Subscription Model on Publishers

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 W. Crouch

Giles Crouch is a design anthropologist and CDO/CIO. He spent over 20 years in globally-focussed marketing communications for technology products and services, but his roots are anthropology in a modern sense. He uniquely ties his deep knowledge of technology, marketing, design thinking and design anthropology as a polymath to help clients seeking digital advantage in today’s complex world. Giles has been regularly interviewed by international news media on topics such as social media, blockchain, artificial intelligence and it’s impacts on society. He is a passionate practitioner of design thinking and anthropology. Giles is prolific writer and public speaker, lecturer and keynote. He has also completed over 250 netnographic research projects since 2009. His secondary activity is as Group Publisher with Human Media Inc.

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