Growth5 Blog

Monday, August 10, 2009

Freemium Done Well: Financial Times

Content providers have been experimenting with all sorts of freemium plans: basic services for free, premium services for a fee. News outlets have had a hard time deciding which content is free, and which isn't.

The NY Times decided that their news was free, but opinions weren't. There's a good "my two cents" joke in there somewhere. ESPN requires you to pay for their "Insider" information; or have a subscription to ESPN the magazine.

I like what the Financial Times decided. They didn't devalue any of their content by saying "this content is free, but over here we have this content that you will want to pay for." They decided to separate "free" and "pay" content by usage.

If you (your computer) reads more than three Financial Times articles a month, they ask you to register. Once you've registered if you read more than ten articles a month, they ask you to pay. This is a model people can wrap their heads around. If I use this a lot, I need to pay for it, fair enough.

We wrote awhile back about micropayments and how publishers could benefit from their implementation. Essentially, the Financial Times model is similar, they just don't charge the per article amount from the beginning -- they wait until you use their service enough to be a regular and then ask you to pay for their efforts. And by not walling off the "better" content you have a chance to sample all the content they provide before declaring yourself a regular by your usage.

It's a great plan. I suspect more news outlets will adopt this plan over time.

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