Social media subscription

Social media platforms have traditionally been free, relying mostly on advertising revenues. Recent slowdowns in user growth and advertising sector challenges have prompted these platforms to consider diversifying their revenue streams, with the subscription being a popular choice. Plans like X Premium (formerly Twitter Blue), Meta Verified, Snapchat+ offer users additional features such as verification tick marks or custom app icons for a fee. Similarly, YouTube Premium allows users to enjoy content without ad interruptions. Elon Musk has even suggested the potential introduction of a paywall for all users to prevent bot scraping. In response to regulatory concerns, some platforms are considering an ad-free subscription model as an alternative. This week, it was reported that Meta could be looking to adopt this ‘pay or okay’ approach in the EU. If users don’t want their information collected for targeted ads, they will need to pay a fee to continue to access Instagram and Facebook. TikTok is also experimenting with a similar system due to increasing regulatory pressures. For Meta, so far it’s unclear how they will pay creators under the subscription version where no advertising revenue share is available. If they follow the YouTube Premium model, monetisation for creators would be based on the number of views. Elsewhere this week, UK publishers are taking actions against the decline of print and the rise of Gen AI, Trustpilot launched its integration on Salesforce and an Accenture survey shows CMOs’ plan to  increase AI and data investments in 2024.


News of the week

Meta plans to launch ad-free $14 plan for Facebook or Instagram in the EU
Meta is considering offering ad-free versions of Instagram and Facebook for EU users for a monthly fee. Alternatively, they can choose a free version but give consent to Meta to use their personal information for ad targeting. The proposed plan has been discussed with EU regulators and is likely to roll out in the coming weeks. According to WSJ, Meta plans to charge $14 a month for ad-free versions of Instagram or Facebook. This comes after the company was fined €390m by Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner over the way it processes data for personalised ads as EU regulators increasingly seek to limit how big tech companies profit from free user data. Several other social platforms, for instance TikTok, are also testing subscription models charging extra for an ad-free experience. This approach could not only help them comply with privacy regulations, but also introduce an additional source of revenue. Meanwhile, Meta is rumoured to be planning layoffs in its FAST unit, which develops custom chips for Meta's VR/AR devices. Meta is turning to the external chipmaker Qualcomm for supply of chips. Reuters, FT, Reuters
Accenture survey: 80% CMOs look to boost spend on AI & data next year
According to a survey by Accenture, approximately 80% of chief marketing officers (CMOs) plan to increase their spending on artificial intelligence (AI) and data for 2024, up from 57% last year. Generative AI is expected to be a significant part of this increased spending, with customer service and marketing being the main focus areas. In terms of customer service, E-commerce brands are looking to utilise AI-powered chatbots to interact with customers, especially Gen Z who seem to more willing to use AI assistants during online shopping. The finding also suggests consumers might be less enthusiastic about creative ad campaigns powered by Generative AI, which contradicts many brands’ recent efforts in this area, for instance, Coca-Cola’s AI-inspired Zero Sugar flavour. The main challenges CMOs face with generative AI are data strategy, talent, and cloud infrastructure, according to the survey. Adage
Publishers urged to block AI bots amidst rising Threat to news industry
The UK's Independent Publishers Alliance is urging its members to take early action to block content crawling from AI chatbots including Google’s Bard, OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing. These AI bots now pose an even bigger threat to news publishers as it goes live. Previously, ChatGPT could only use information up to September 2021, but now it can provide current information from the internet. If people get their answer directly from the chatbots, they might not click through to the original articles, potentially reducing traffic to news publishers. Although given the options to opt out of AI training without losing out in search results, some publishers see the crawling and learning from their content inevitable. The Alliance believes that allowing free use of publishers’ content could be used against them in future legal or licensing negotiation, therefore now is the time for publishers to take action collectively. According to, 44% of 1123 news publishers they monitor have blocked ChatGPT’s crawling access since August. Pressgazette
News UK and DMG Media propose Joint Venture to combine print operations
News UK and DMG Media, two of the UK's largest publishers, have proposed a joint venture to combine their printing operations, subject to CMA consultation and approval. The plan aims to create a sustainable business model for national print newspapers by improving efficiency. The new company would operate independently and print more than three million newspapers each night. The plan also includes the potential closure of DMG sites in Thurrock and Dinnington, while the three Newsprinters sites would remain open. The proposal comes in response to a more than 60% drop in national print newspaper circulation over the past decade, alongside rising print and energy costs. Pressgazette
Trustpilot launches integration with Salesforce
Trustpilot has launched a new product, "Reviews for Salesforce by Trustpilot", on Salesforce AppExchange. This tool will be available for businesses in the UK and US, allowing them to manage and respond to Trustpilot reviews from within the Salesforce platform, and to use these reviews to gain consumer insights and improve their services. The integration also enables businesses to automatically send review invitations and generate feedback responses. This is part of Trustpilot's ongoing growth and partnership strategy, with nine new integrations launched in the past year. The integration starts at $300/month on AppExchange and requires a Trustpilot Subscription. PR Newswire, Trustpilot
Other news

  • Netflix plans to raise prices post the actors’ strike. Reuters
  • National World acquires Midland News Association. Pressgazette
  • Future launches lifestyle and luxury print publication, The Blend. Future
  • The Premier League plans to revamp UK TV rights deals. FT
  • Spotify plans to enter the audiobook market, challenging Amazon’s Audible. FT