Future trialling website paywalls

Future Publishing has revealed that it is trialling paywalls on its websites – to discover how much its online consumers are willing to pay for content.

Future CEO Stevie Spring said that the firm produced ‘must-have, very special content’, which consumers were more willing to pay for than national or international, non-specialist news.

The reason that we can charge an average of five pounds for a magazine is that we do very nice, very must-have, very special content, and if anybody is going to pay for anything they are more likely to pay for that,” Spring told BrandRepublic.

That’s why we use the word prosumer [to describe Future’s audiences], it’s much closer to business-to-business [publishing]."

Future owns games sites such GamesRadar, CVG, Edge-Online, as well as portals for its Official Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo magazines.

It also operates in the games, craft, cycling, photography, music and film consumer sectors, in addition to owning a custom publishing division.

Paywalls hit the headlines earlier this year after Ruper Murdoch announced that News Corp’s sites – which include The Sun Online, The Times Online, Wall Street Journal and IGN – were to begin charging consumers for content.

Spring said that Future was considering a variety of paywall models.

"Once we’ve got payment methodology there – such as micropayments – I think we are better placed than any other media company to charge for our content,” she added.

"We are doing experiments right across our portfolio. We’re doing paywalls, we’re doing ‘you can only access this if you buy the print product’, we’re doing ‘you can read this but if you want the archive you can pay for it’.

"We’re experimenting in small places right across the portfolio, because we don’t have the answer yet. Our strategy online is do and learn. We’re learning as we go along."

Future yesterday announced an overall FY profit drop of 61 per cent.

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