Will Facebook and Google really help drive subscriptions?
Google and Facebook are making a big show of demonstrating their interest in helping news publishers. Subscriptions are a good way for them to do this; subscription publishers include powerful news outlets that are good for platforms to cozy up to, and it also lets the platforms show they’re looking out for high-quality news, especially after taking major heat for letting fake news spread on their platforms.
To that end, Google and Facebook — the tech companies that so far have gone the furthest in working with publishers — have rolled out tools to let publishers sell subscriptions through their platforms. These initiatives are long in coming, but it’s too soon to pop the Champagne just yet. Both are limited to a handful of publishers — Subscribe with Google rolled out in April with 17 publishers, while Facebook has been testing its subscription tool with a dozen publishers. Neither has given a time frame for when those tools will be available to all publishers.
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