Facebook announced plans to trial a new subscription model for its Instant Articles feature which will initially debut on Android devices.
In the coming weeks, Facebook said will test a paywall system for a number of news publishers in Instant Articles. Included in the test will be both a metered model offering ten free articles and a freemium model allowing publishers to choose which content is locked.
Instant Articles are stories which appear in Facebook users’ news feeds which are formatted to load up to ten-times faster than traditional web pages. While the stories currently load instantly, the company’s trial will see users prompted to subscribe for full access once they’ve reached the paywall limit.
“Earlier this year, many publishers identified subscriptions as a top priority, so we worked with a diverse group of partners to design, refine, and develop a test suited for a variety of premium news models,” Facebook’s head of news partnerships Campbell Brown wrote in a blog post: “We also heard from publishers that maintaining control over pricing, offers, subscriber relationships, and 100 per cent of the revenue are critical to their businesses, and this test is designed to do that.”
The social networking company will also test additional tools for publishers including a pop-up encouraging readers to subscribe which will work in the same way an email sign-up box would. The company will also tinker with the “like” button at the top of articles, changing it instead to a “subscribe” button.
While the trials are being conducted on Android devices, Facebook indicated it’s looking to expand to other operating systems soon.