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News media is facing critical decline. As social media swallows traffic, ad revenues tank, and layoffs choke the industry, publishers are struggling to find new resilient models to survive in today's media landscape.
One of the most promising attempts to reverse decline has been to install paywalls on premium content. While some of the biggest global players have generated success with paywalls, for most, this has only slowed the decent. The industry is in decline and the bar of entry, is rising.
The paywall model introduces a critical limitation: the vast majority of readers are only willing to pay for a single news subscription.
Aggregator services like Apple News+ promise bigger audiences with micropayment subscription models, however, such services have only managed to centralise premium content, create wrappers of control around news media, and fail to actually revitalize the industry.
There is extremely limited competition within this space, emboldening such services to extract up to a 50% cut off every subscription fee.
These services fail to overcome the most crucial barrier: how can a subscription model match the news media's distributed nature? How can we enable readers to access premium content directly from the publishers' websites anywhere on the web, instead of having to solely rely on the singular service and its algorithms to discover meaningful content?
Can we create a system that makes access possible both across the web and through the convenience of a personalized content feed?
Solving this would promise a means to unlock the full potential of wider audiences and enable the industry to thrive. After all, while most people are only willing to pay for a single subscription, almost everyone wants to read premium content across multiple publications.