Elon Musk announced, on Saturday, a plan for the Twitter platform that would allow media publishers to charge users on an article-by-article basis with one click.
“This enables users who do not subscribe monthly to pay a higher rate for reading each article in passing,” the billionaire businessman said on Twitter, adding, “This should be a major win for media organizations and the public alike.” He added that the plan will start appearing next month, but he did not give details of the exact prices or the percentage that the Twitter platform will charge.
The announcement comes as Musk struggles to make Twitter profitable amid controversial plans.
Media organizations have long struggled to set up reliable subscription plans to cover their operating costs, even though readers have become accustomed to free news on the Internet.
The challenge for Musk is how to make the micro-pay-for-content approach work where others have failed.
British journalist James Poole reported in the Columbia Journalism Review a series of problems with micro-payments, an idea he says “certainly has had major publishers around the world”.
Many users will immediately turn away once they hit a pay-to-read system, and publishers “largely” like to sign up for permanent subscribers, because that earns them much more ad revenue than the 20 cents or so per article they read.
And many people on Twitter raised other objections, as some considered that reading on a per-article basis would encourage “click bait” to attract readers with deceptive titles, and preference could be given to large publishers at the expense of small ones, in addition to that it is not clear if the writers will also share. proceeds with publishers.
But others on Twitter reacted positively to the plan. “A great idea,” tweeted Greg Autry, adding, “As a regular columnist for publications such as Forbes, Foreign Policy, and Ad-Astra, I often get frustrated when my work ends up behind a payment system that my followers don’t want to sign up for. This is the right solution.”
Carlos Gil, author of a book on marketing, tweeted, “Finally, pay-per-view in the world of news won’t make you feel like you’re buying beer at an overpriced stadium. Get your articles on demand now and keep your wallet happy.”