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Tencent trials paywall for WeChat blogs amid signs that China’s netizens are ready to hand over hard cash

China’s ubiquitous social media and do-everything app WeChat is testing paywalls for official accounts, opening up extra monetisation alternatives for its content material creators as Chinese language Web customers present willingness to pay for on-line content material.

Some official accounts, that are blog-like platforms, will be capable to cost readers both for chosen authentic content material or all posts, WeChat mentioned on Tuesday. The content material creators can worth articles from 1 yuan (59sen) to 208 yuan (RM122), and WeChat won’t take a reduce on the revenues throughout the trial interval.

WeChat, operated by Chinese language Web big Tencent Holdings, will initially solely enable entry to the paywall characteristic to a restricted variety of bloggers who’ve printed a minimum of three authentic items of content material with out violations of group guidelines for 3 months. It expects to roll the paywall out throughout a wider group of members in future.

Accounts run by media organisations, governments and firms can be excluded from the official trials, in response to WeChat.

WeChat, which boasts 1.15 billion lively customers, is among the hottest content material platforms for Chinese language web customers, who can select to tip writers for content material they like. The brand new characteristic will enable WeChat to supply its content material creators an extra moneymaking alternative, which in flip ought to generate larger high quality on-line materials.

China’s Web customers are more and more stepping as much as pay for high-quality on-line content material – together with music, movies and podcasts – as its comparatively prosperous millennial technology comes of age.

For music, the variety of paying customers surged fifteen-fold to 38.77 million in 2018 in contrast with 5 years in the past, in response to a report by iResearch final 12 months. Nonetheless, paying customers accounted for under 6% of all customers.

Paid subscriptions have been a rising pattern in China for content material platforms equivalent to podcasts and information websites, which embrace apps like Dedao and Ximalaya FM the place customers pays for audiobooks and lectures on subjects equivalent to trade insights and profession planning. The marketplace for ‘paying for information’ was price 4.9bil yuan (RM2.89bil) in 2017, and is estimated to achieve 23.5bil yuan (RM13.88bil) in 2020, in response to a separate report by iResearch in 2018.

“Readers are keen to pay writers they belief for content material that has worth,” mentioned Zhang Dingding, an unbiased Web trade commentator and former head of Beijing-based analysis agency Sootoo Institute. “With the paywall, Tencent is rewarding writers and likewise encouraging them to proceed to create authentic content material.”

WeChat has been exploring a lot of methods to encourage consumer stickiness. It introduced final week that it could quickly provide its customers the choice of making short-form content material amid the explosive recognition of short-form video in China. – South China Morning Publish

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