Facebook Instant Article Subscriptions Being Tested On Android

Facebook Instant Article Subscriptions Being Tested On Android

Facebook said it would soon roll out the test to support new subscription models in Instant Articles in partnership with a news organizations in the USA and Europe, starting with the Android application.

The first option is a metered model where everyone gets to read 10 free stories per month before needing to subscribe. The second model is where publishers choose which articles to lock. Facebook confirmed in August that it's going to add subscriptions to Instant Articles.

It may also help soothe relations with some publishers, which often see their articles widely shared among Facebook's more than 2 billion monthly users but have found it hard to translate Facebook readers into paying subscribers. "We also heard from publishers that maintaining control over pricing, offers, subscriber relationships, and 100 percent of the revenue are critical to their businesses, and this test is created to do that". The transaction will take place on the publisher's website if the user subscribers. But, not everyone is happy about the business arrangement. Currently, Apple gets 30% of all subscriptions sold inside 3rd-party iOS apps, so Facebook's current signup method eliminate them of this revenue.

For this reason the feature isn't launching yet on Apple - only Android, which doesn't have any restrictions on how subscriptions can be sold.

And even though the subscription is used to let Facebook users access Instant Articles, Facebook is actually only sending users directly to the publishers where they sign up for the subscription online and not through Facebook.

Facebook first said it was working on subscriptions back in July, and a spokesperson said the test will begin on Android devices in the USA and Europe before being made available more broadly.

Facebook says many publishers saw subscriptions as an essential priority and requested the ability to control the paywall and the earning generated from the subscription system.

Included in the test will be Germany's Bild and Spiegel, France's Le Parisien, Italy's La Republicca, the Telegraph and the Economist of Britain and the US-based Boston Globe, Washington Post, and news groups Hearst and Tronc, which includes the Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, and San Diego Union-Tribune.

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