Discussion - Micropayment Platforms
Draft 26 October 2010
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Content Payments – The Problem
The Landscape – Who Plays Where?
User Cases – How to capture the paying audience?
Source: Alexa, June, 2010
Content creation online faces an ongoing crisis.
“Complex” content creation requires multiple specialized skills to produce:
- Music production
- Narrative video – documentaries, long-form news casts
- Journalism – investigative, feature, …
Advertising alone unlikely to support continued creation of “complex”content
- Low-cost publishing platforms continue to expand supply of available ad inventory
- Advertising networks continue to expand; ad units increasingly commoditized
- Result => Ad pricing (eCPM’s) decline
Goal to create a payment platform for consumer support of complex content as a
complement to advertising
Rapid changes in distribution and payment technology; innovations in payment
method (donation, purchase, rental, …) create a challenge for a single payment
Source: Google Analytics, 2010
Multiple payment options exist; but none are perfect
Donations Purchase/Rental Access
- Spot.us - iTunes/iBook - FT.com
- Kachingle - Amazon/Kindle - WSJ.com
- Paypal - Adobe Android
Microfunding forcoverage plans
Creates instances of content
on proprietary platforms:
Grant access and interaction
during a period
Donation based on visits - Limit distribution by device
(Kachingle) - Limit copies allowed
Paypal Donate Button - Limit interaction allowed
Revenue streams episodic
Distribution limited by
platform Managing access
creates planning difficulty Platform costs
None Must use platform functions Must tie into CMS
- Site (Kachingle, Paypal) - Content package: - Site
- Story/Project/Site (Spot.US) + Magazine Issue
+ Brand or Site
+ Complex Content package
Limited micropayment options available
Multiple platform layers create complexity for a unified payment
Web Mobile Device
ISP Mobile Carriers Device and Platform Vendors
- WAP - Apple (iPhone/iPad)
- SMS - Amazon (Kindle)
- Google (Android)
- WordPress - WAP Framework - ePub (Apple iBook)
- Drupal - CMS - Digital Text (Amazon Kindle)
- Vignette - RSS Feed - App Platforms
- Internal Build
- Internal Build Mobile Carrier Billing In App
- Journalism Online (?) Storefront (Amazon, iTunes)
- Credit Card - Credit Card - Credit Card
- Paypal - Bank Draft
- Retail Prepay
Multiple user cases also contribute to difficulties in building common
User Case 1: Direct to Site - Subscriber
Description: Site loyalist. Likely older demographic familiar with subscription
payment options from traditional media.
Model: Access model. Requires some periodic payment to allow access after N visits –
Business Issues: Requires more complex management of access variables to
maximize revenue, e.g. price, access level (N=?), duration of access, other content
benefits. Other issues: balancing access versus need to generate ad inventory.
User Case 2: Search Engine Referral
Description: Information interested/search focused. Likely 30 to 40 year old
demographic. Accustomed to free information access through search.
Model: Access model. (see above.)
Business Issues: (see above)
User Cases: (continued)
User Case 3: Referral from 3rd Party Content Site
Description: Content researcher, site loyalist. Could be a small user case, individuals
who are more likely to follow a related link from “branded” content than going back
to search engines to follow next most relevant link. Very few working content
networks today – BlogBurst, Helium
Model: Referral feeds, from one content website to another.
Business Issues: Requires a content network of relatively unique content and
services. Referral technology will need to equal or exceed search engines.
User Case 4: Social Network Referrals
Description: Trusted referrals. Likely youngest demographic; accustomed to paying
for some discrete content online, e.g. social games (Zynga), virtual goods (QQ),
music/ringtones/wallpapers. No tradition of paying for content.
Model: Personal referral fees.
Viewer sees referred link, pays for access, access payment split between referrer and
the content source.
Business Issues: Building revenue layer on top of social networks – FaceBook and
Twitter. Creating “value” for this social audience that will result in payment.
Solutions – Mobile App
Search App for Complex Content:
Description: Develop a mobile app for distribution through the major App platforms,
iTunes and Android. The app will provide access for content from publishers for a
micropayment from the consumer. Consumers can carry a sum in a “wallet” attached to
Elements of the Solution:
1. Search engine and feed intake platform for publisher content
2. Mobile/Tablet App to allow search, discovery and access for particular content
3. Ability to upload and hold a sum of money that will be used to pay for the individual
4. Allows for publisher apps to cross market to users who consistently access articles
from a publisher.
- Micropayments form search access
-“Priority Listings” – publisher buys into top slots for some search terms
- Publisher cross marketing: Allows the publishers to cross market their own apps.
- Zinio App (iPhone and iPad); NewsRack (iPhone, iPad); World Newsstand (iPhone,
Solutions – Social Network Referrals
Social Network Referrals:
Description: Develop a referral network that will reward Twitter and Facebook users for
referring a story to their networks as well as reward the producer of the content for the
Elements of the Solution:
1. Pricing mechanism for the individual articles. A dashboard content marketers can
access to price and manage individual pieces of content. Or whole blocks of content.
2. API Access to link distribution and click rates. Will need to build a social tree of link
referrals and click through for the referral.
3. Will need a wallet or payment mechanism that ideally crosses the major social
networks – Twitter, Facebook, … [Could begin with only one of the two major servcies.]
4. Will need some kind of influencer dashboard for leaders in the referral of content
- Micropayments from content referrals.
Comparables: Affiliate programs like Commission Junction.