Press+ said today that it will grandfather at no charge the subscribers for any publishers that had used Google One Pass. “We will maintain subscriber accounts for whichever publishers might have signed on with Google without charging our usual revenue share,” Press+ Co- founder Steven Brill says in a release. “We’ll only charge for all the new customers we generate going forward once our seamless transition is completed.” Google announced late Friday that it shuttered its online payment platform for news outlets.
The full release is after the jump.
For Immediate Release
RR DONNELLEY’S PRESS+ OFFERS ‘GRANDFATHER CLAUSE’ TO FORMER CUSTOMERS OF GOOGLE ONE PASS
FOLLOWING CLOSURE OF LEADING COMPETITOR, PRESS+ WILL ‘GRANDFATHER’ SUBSCRIBERS WHO HAD USED GOOGLE ONE PASS
New York, April 23, 2012 — In response to the announcement by Google on Friday, April 20, that it has closed down its Google One Pass service for publishers, RR Donnelley’s Press+, the flexible e- commerce platform that enables publishers to generate new digital revenues from online readers, today announced that it will grandfather at no charge the subscribers for any publishers that had used Google One Pass. “We will maintain subscriber accounts for whichever publishers might have signed on with Google without charging our usual revenue share,” explained Press+ Co- founder Steven Brill. “We’ll only charge for all the new customers we generate going forward once our seamless transition is completed.”
When Google One Pass was launched as a competitor to Press+ in February, 2011, Press+ had launched 24 publishers on its service. As of today, Press+ has launched paid models online for 349 publishers, including newspapers, magazines, online-only sites and non-profits. Some 200 additional publishers are planning launches of their paid models using Press+. It has been reported that Google One Pass had launched two publishers in the U.S. before being shut down last week.
“We know that Google tried hard to compete with us and we are gratified that the marketplace has spoken,” said Brill. “We wish Google well in its other services and look forward to serving publishers that had used the Google One Pass service.”
In the time since Press+ was founded in 2009, it has become the rule rather than the exception that publishers charge for unlimited access to their web sites and other digital editions such as iPad, iPhone and Android apps as well as mobile versions.
“We use data from reader engagement with publishers to boost their subscription revenues, just as Google uses data from search to boost advertising revenues,” said Press+ co-founder Gordon Crovitz. “With most of the publishers in the world now charging for online access using Press+, we are able to offer publishers data on best practices to maximize their digital subscription revenues while retaining their online advertising revenues and readership.”
Mr. Crovitz also noted a key difference with Google One Pass that helps explain why publishers preferred Press+: “We never use the data for our own purposes or share it with others such as advertisers. All customer data relating to publishers belongs only to the publishers.”
Unlike Google One Pass or Apple’s iTunes, Press+ is an independent provider that enables publishers to generate subscription revenues across all digital versions, including through Google’s Android and Apple’s iPad and iPhone. Publishers using Press+ have the exclusive relationship with their own subscribers, and Press+ does not compete with publishers to sell online advertising.
Websites using Press+ include a wide range of publications — national, metropolitan, and local daily and weekly newspapers; magazines; national, local and global online-only news sources; non-profit news sources; and college student newspapers. Several of the largest U.S. and Canadian newspaper publishing companies, including MediaNews Group, Tribune Company, GateHouse Media, McClatchy, Lee Enterprises, and Postmedia have launched publications on Press+.
Publishers using Press+ use “meters” allowing free access for many online readers while charging frequent online readers to pay for unlimited access. According to data that Press+ shares with publishers, most publishers have opted to set their meter between 5 and 15 articles. Price points generally range from $5 to $10 per month, with most print publishers offering their print subscribers bundled or discounted digital access. The result has been a significant new stream of revenue at a time when traditional business models are under threat and many publishers are in or have gone through bankruptcy.