Newspapers using Press+ offer fewer free articles

From a Press+ press release: “39% of the more than 370 publishers using the Press+ metering system are now allowing readers to view fewer than 10 articles for free per month. Most had launched their initial paid models with higher meters, allowing more free articles. …Even with the lowered meters publishers have seen no downside in results; across the range of Press+ Affiliates there has been no decline in digital advertising revenues and publishers have retained their voice in their communities.”

Read the release after the jump.

RR Donnelley’s Press+ release

NEW YORK, September 24, 2012…As 2012 opened, “Install meters, not pay walls” was the strategic catchphrase sweeping through the publishing industry. As the year moves into the fourth quarter, there is strong evidence that a new, simpler strategic imperative is taking hold: “Don’t be afraid. Lower those meters.”

In its quarterly meeting of publishers using RR Donnelley’s Press+ for their paid-digital subscriptions in New York City last week, Press+ shared the critical factors necessary for increasing online subscription revenue as publishers continue to invest in their web and mobile products. One such piece of data revealed that 39% of the more than 370 publishers using the Press+ metering system are now allowing readers to view fewer than 10 articles for free per month. Most had launched their initial paid models with higher meters, allowing more free articles. But even with the lowered meters publishers have seen no downside in results; across the range of Press+ Affiliates there has been no decline in digital advertising revenues and publishers have retained their voice in their communities.

Of the Press+ publishers now allowing fewer than 10 free articles per month, more than half of these publishers now limit the number of free articles to under five. The average number of free articles for all publishers using the Press+ revenue-generating platform is now 11, down from 13 at the beginning of 2012, and that average continues to come down.

“There is no longer any question that the metered model works. We expect this trend of lower meter levels to continue at least through 2013 until the average is in the mid-high single digits. It’s no longer about whether more publishers will lower the meter; it’s just about when,” said Press+ co-CEO Gordon Crovitz.

“We know that having a sudden, blunt pay wall pop up before visitors can read anything doesn’t work, because unlike the meter, with its advance messaging that tells people they will be asked to pay after they have read five or ten articles in a month, consumers can’t sample the content and don’t get into the mindset of being ready to pay when they are asked to pay,” added co-CEO Steven Brill. “So some kind of metering is absolutely necessary, not only for maintaining traffic and ad revenue, but also for maximizing subscription sales. However, setting the meter lower, at, say five to ten articles, seems to hit the sweet spot – allowing sampling while enhancing subscription revenue.”

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