Varnish Paywall: a winning pay-for-access formula?

A paywall is is a concept where a website owner deploys a virtual wall around their content and puts restrictions on how the readers are allowed to consume the content. The most common restriction is to require a subscription before displaying content. Other common restrictions are to place a limit on the number of pages each reader is allowed to see or to require a user to perform a micropayment for each article in order to have access to it. 

What does the Varnish Paywall do?

Paywalls can be implemented in Varnish Cache giving users the option to deploy this functionality on any kind of content across all platforms. The Varnish Paywall is most commonly used by online media to check whether a reader has access to the requested page before Varnish delivers it. Once a reader logs in the publication system in place it will signalize to Varnish to what extent the content should be made available to this particular reader depending on the subscription he/she has. 

A diversity of other paywall control mechanisms can be implemented via Varnish. One of these is Metered, a functionality that allows users to deploy a limited access subscriptions model which lets subscribers buy access to for example a fixed number of articles. Another useful function is the ability to detect from where the traffic to the website is originated, allowing for example for all articles that readers share via social media to be viewable for non-subscription users. 

What makes the paywall solution from Varnish unique among pay-for-access solutions is its ability to integrate with any type of publication and payment systems. 

The Varnish Paywall gives FVN’s online edition a big boost

Many online newspapers are facing a new reality where ads are no longer a sufficient source of revenue. To survive they are increasingly considering options such as paywall to make readers fully or partly pay for access to their content (one of the of the first media to introduce such digital subscriptions to their readers was theNew York Times that implemented its solution in 2011).

Fedrelandsvennen (FVN) is a regional Norwegian newspaper published in the South of Norway. The news provider had been experiencing an ever increasing slump in their printed edition as well as the number of online readers before earlier this year deploying the Varnish Paywall solution with great results.

“We deployed paywall in May this year and we are already seeing a great return on investment as the number of subscribers has grown by 2%, the number of young readers has increased significantly and we are also selling more of the paper edition. Obviously this has a formidable positive effect on our revenue. And we are now able to sell subscriptions 24 hours a day, seven days a week!,” said Christian Stavik, editor-in chief on FVN’s online edition.

Stavik claims the effect of launching the Varnish Paywall surpassed all expectations. “Already in the first week after launching the paywall solution we saw a 30% increase in our subscriptions. Additionally, 57% of our home delivery subscribers have now subscribed to the digital offering which means that they have access to all our online content.”

Are you struggling with similar challenges as FVN? Contact us to get the help you need.

Topics: Varnish Software, Varnish Plus

10/08/12 12:30 by Hildur Smaradottir

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