Publication Price Points (Revisited)

Service: Narrative

Hi everyone-

About a year ago, I started a conversation about potential price points for publication (though we were calling them "brand channels" at the time). Here is that original post:

https://community.narrative.or...t-for-brand-channels

Even though publications will not be supported initially when we launch the beta, we definitely see them as a huge part of the ecosystem in the future.  

I'd like to circle back on this to get some fresh feedback. 

To remind everyone about what publications are:

1. They are premium channels that will carry a fixed price point (unlike the auction system we have for niches).

2. The main use case for publications is to allow organizations/creators to tightly control their content.

3. Publications can appoint their own moderators directly (no election required).

4. Publications can have editors who can review and edit all content posted to the channel prior to publication.  

5. Publications can control who is allowed to post content on their sites.

6. Publications can take all or some of the content creator rewards for content created on the channel. (But they do not receive any Narrative Rewards for ownership.)

7. Publications can pay their moderators and/or editors directly, if they like. Think of it as Publication Rewards (vs. Narrative Rewards).

8. Publications support admins, which allows the channels to be managed by more than one person.

9. There may be an option for publications to compensate followers who agree to share profile information with them (TBD). 

10. Like niches, publications must pay annual fees to maintain their channels. The renewal fee will be the same as the initial fee.

11. We plan to support a premium membership option for publications, whereby they can set a recurring fee for access to premium-only content on their sites.

12. Publications may use custom domains.

Remember that every Narrator has their own (free) journal.  Thus, the extra control and value associated with publications should require a fee. The question is what it should be, or what range it should be in.  We came up with some plans last year, but hearing some fresh perspectives would be appreciated.

Thanks!

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hmmmmm....I have thought a lot about this and i still don't have a good handle on it. When i look at Patreaon, it is free to get involved, and they take a portion of what is earned.

The risk for investment is much higher on this one, because so much content is for free on Narrative and you are only wanting to accept fiat as the subscription fee (I think I read that, pls correct me if I am wrong). I think it would be a lot healthier model if the community could subscribe with their earned tokens. I know I would be much more generous with what i earned in NRVE than Fiat. 

The risks:

1. You pay your fee, then nobody subscribes to get past your paywall. 

2. you hire a support team of writers and an editor, but you are paying out of pocket until it gets going.

3. You have no audience for your best content, because of the paywall, and now you aren't making on either the publication or the niche.

I am an entrepreneur, and I will probably give a publication a go, at some point. but the price point will really make a difference for me, on how much i am prepared to risk.

I think maybe a smart way to approach it is some sort of sliding scale for success. Sort of like leasing a retail space. A leaser first year rate and as the subscriptions go up a price increase takes place.

My 2 bits based on my comfort levels.

@Emily Barnett - Re your first point... just want to make sure it is clear that publications do not have to institute any kind of paywall. By default, all content in a publication would be free. All I was saying that we would support the ability to have premium content in a publication (for those that want to try it as a revenue model).

The nice thing about our premium model is that you can determine which pieces of content are free or premium... meaning that you can determine what percentage of your content requires premium membership.

But again, I suspect most publications will not have any kind of paywall, at least not unless they have a significant/loyal audience.

@Ted But just so I understand, if a publication doesn't have any paywalls, it doesn't earn any rewards. Correct?

So why would someone pay anything on this platform to not make a source of income. that seems like a really bad investment. No?

Am I not getting something, here?

Emily Barnett posted:

@Ted But just so I understand, if a publication doesn't have any paywalls, it doesn't earn any rewards. Correct?

So why would someone pay anything on this platform to not make a source of income. that seems like a really bad investment. No?

Am I not getting something, here?

There are no "ownership" rewards, like we offer for niches, but as I mentioned in my point #6 above, the publication owners control ownership rights over the content posted to the publication. That means that they control what percentage of the content creator rewards generated by the publication content is retained by the authors.

Thus, one publication may allow its creators to retain 100% of their creator rewards, some may take a percentage (say 50%), and some may go so far as to take 100% of the rewards.  Remember that, unlike niches, publications control exactly who can write/create content for them, and the creator reward split (if applicable) will be visible to those creators.

Use cases:

1. If I am a Fortune 500 company using medium to promote my brand, I am probably already paying/employing the writers on my publication. Thus, I will likely keep 100% of the creator rewards for our organization.

2. I have a small magazine publication on Narrative, where me and a few of my fellow writers post content.  We wold probably set it so that writers keep 100% of the creator rewards, because we will each earn our own fair shared based on what we produce.

3. I have a publication that has constantly bringing in new writers for a particular subject. As owners, we may want to keep 30% of the revenue for our role as curator of the magazine and give the writers 70%.

Ted posted:
Emily Barnett posted:

@Ted But just so I understand, if a publication doesn't have any paywalls, it doesn't earn any rewards. Correct?

So why would someone pay anything on this platform to not make a source of income. that seems like a really bad investment. No?

Am I not getting something, here?

There are no "ownership" rewards, like we offer for niches, but as I mentioned in my point #6 above, the publication owners control ownership rights over the content posted to the publication. That means that they control what percentage of the content creator rewards generated by the publication content is retained by the authors.

Thus, one publication may allow its creators to retain 100% of their creator rewards, some may take a percentage (say 50%), and some may go so far as to take 100% of the rewards.  Remember that, unlike niches, publications control exactly who can write/create content for them, and the creator reward split (if applicable) will be visible to those creators.

Use cases:

1. If I am a Fortune 500 company using medium to promote my brand, I am probably already paying/employing the writers on my publication. Thus, I will likely keep 100% of the creator rewards for our organization.

2. I have a small magazine publication on Narrative, where me and a few of my fellow writers post content.  We wold probably set it so that writers keep 100% of the creator rewards, because we will each earn our own fair shared based on what we produce.

3. I have a publication that has constantly bringing in new writers for a particular subject. As owners, we may want to keep 30% of the revenue for our role as curator of the magazine and give the writers 70%.

Wow - ok... I'm realizing I never took the time to understand publications properly.  This may well have been very clear all along but it is much clearer to me now.

Publications are much more interesting than I thought!  I hope not too many people misunderstood things the way I did, because if so, we have to find a way for this to be more readily absorbed by folks.

The way you explained it here was very helpful.

@Ted I am feeling confused....so much to try and remember. SO I assumed after I read the blog post about Premium memberships to publications that the only revenues that a publication can earn is the memberships. But what you are saying here is that a publication ALSO gets paid the 60% of a content writers reward pool? What about the Moderator's rewards? And it is up to the owner to then determine how much they want to pay out the moderator and content makers for their work. Which in theory could be higher or lower. 

Do i have a better handle on it now? Or am I still confused?

Malkazoid posted:
Ted posted:
Emily Barnett posted:

@Ted But just so I understand, if a publication doesn't have any paywalls, it doesn't earn any rewards. Correct?

So why would someone pay anything on this platform to not make a source of income. that seems like a really bad investment. No?

Am I not getting something, here?

There are no "ownership" rewards, like we offer for niches, but as I mentioned in my point #6 above, the publication owners control ownership rights over the content posted to the publication. That means that they control what percentage of the content creator rewards generated by the publication content is retained by the authors.

Thus, one publication may allow its creators to retain 100% of their creator rewards, some may take a percentage (say 50%), and some may go so far as to take 100% of the rewards.  Remember that, unlike niches, publications control exactly who can write/create content for them, and the creator reward split (if applicable) will be visible to those creators.

Use cases:

1. If I am a Fortune 500 company using medium to promote my brand, I am probably already paying/employing the writers on my publication. Thus, I will likely keep 100% of the creator rewards for our organization.

2. I have a small magazine publication on Narrative, where me and a few of my fellow writers post content.  We wold probably set it so that writers keep 100% of the creator rewards, because we will each earn our own fair shared based on what we produce.

3. I have a publication that has constantly bringing in new writers for a particular subject. As owners, we may want to keep 30% of the revenue for our role as curator of the magazine and give the writers 70%.

Wow - ok... I'm realizing I never took the time to understand publications properly.  This may well have been very clear all along but it is much clearer to me now.

Publications are much more interesting than I thought!  I hope not too many people misunderstood things the way I did, because if so, we have to find a way for this to be more readily absorbed by folks.

The way you explained it here was very helpful.

I don't think you are alone in not understanding it. I think that there needs to be ONE document from the @Narrative that out lines it all at once. You have two documents on totally different platforms, community thread and Medium, and months apart (June and January), laying out the details of publications. If both me and  @Malkazoid were not super clear on the rewarding mechanics of publications, I guarantee there are many others who don't.

Emily Barnett posted:

@Ted I am feeling confused....so much to try and remember. SO I assumed after I read the blog post about Premium memberships to publications that the only revenues that a publication can earn is the memberships. But what you are saying here is that a publication ALSO gets paid the 60% of a content writers reward pool? What about the Moderator's rewards? And it is up to the owner to then determine how much they want to pay out the moderator and content makers for their work. Which in theory could be higher or lower. 

Do i have a better handle on it now? Or am I still confused?

Publications are not niches, so Niche Owner rewards and Niche Moderator rewards do not apply. 

Publication owners will be able to earn money in these ways:

1. Share in Content Creator rewards. As I mentioned above, the owner determines how much of the content creator rewards they will earn (if any). By default, they will earn none of the creator rewards, so they will have consciously take action to tap into those rewards.

2.  Advertising.  Publication owners may optionally run their own ads on their content pages. TBD if this is a standard option for all publications or perhaps a higher plan tier option (which is one of the reasons I am looking for more feedback on pricing overall here)

3.  Premium Memberships: this is not enabled by default. If enabled, the publication owner would set the rate (how much they want to charge for premium membership for their site) and would be able to mark any content as premium (or free). 

Publication owners do not have to pay anyone anything. They do not have to pay moderators at all, but we plan to offer a way to do so, as outlined in the spec here:

https://spec.narrative.org/doc...pensating-moderators

Again, some of these publications will be run by major companies that are already employing their moderators and will not wish to pay them separately via Narrative. And some publications will self-moderate (remember that there are no moderator elections for publications) and thus not have to worry about paying for moderator services. And still others will rely on volunteers moderators (which is actually how MANY online communities work). 

Hope this helps!

Emily Barnett posted:
Malkazoid posted:
Ted posted:
Emily Barnett posted:

@Ted But just so I understand, if a publication doesn't have any paywalls, it doesn't earn any rewards. Correct?

So why would someone pay anything on this platform to not make a source of income. that seems like a really bad investment. No?

Am I not getting something, here?

There are no "ownership" rewards, like we offer for niches, but as I mentioned in my point #6 above, the publication owners control ownership rights over the content posted to the publication. That means that they control what percentage of the content creator rewards generated by the publication content is retained by the authors.

Thus, one publication may allow its creators to retain 100% of their creator rewards, some may take a percentage (say 50%), and some may go so far as to take 100% of the rewards.  Remember that, unlike niches, publications control exactly who can write/create content for them, and the creator reward split (if applicable) will be visible to those creators.

Use cases:

1. If I am a Fortune 500 company using medium to promote my brand, I am probably already paying/employing the writers on my publication. Thus, I will likely keep 100% of the creator rewards for our organization.

2. I have a small magazine publication on Narrative, where me and a few of my fellow writers post content.  We wold probably set it so that writers keep 100% of the creator rewards, because we will each earn our own fair shared based on what we produce.

3. I have a publication that has constantly bringing in new writers for a particular subject. As owners, we may want to keep 30% of the revenue for our role as curator of the magazine and give the writers 70%.

Wow - ok... I'm realizing I never took the time to understand publications properly.  This may well have been very clear all along but it is much clearer to me now.

Publications are much more interesting than I thought!  I hope not too many people misunderstood things the way I did, because if so, we have to find a way for this to be more readily absorbed by folks.

The way you explained it here was very helpful.

I don't think you are alone in not understanding it. I think that there needs to be ONE document from the @Narrative that out lines it all at once. You have two documents on totally different platforms, community thread and Medium, and months apart (June and January), laying out the details of publications. If both me and  @Malkazoid were not super clear on the rewarding mechanics of publications, I guarantee there are many others who don't.

We are not supporting publications initially, so we are not too concerned with how we promote them yet. That will be more important once we line it up for actual release as a feature.

that does help @Ted. I have always understood that a publication was not a niche. But i did not understand that content on a publication still can earn it's 60% of the reward pool and that it is up to the owner to potentially negotiate a percentage of it. So now I have a much better handle on it.

So, making it crystal clear for anyone else coming along. A publication could in theory negotiate with a content maker for say 30% of their rewards earned on the publication with no exclusivity over them to post the same content on niches, or say only a 10% take of the rewards collected from being on the publication, with a total exclusivity. Plus they get some potential ad revs, and paywall subscriptions. This makes sense.

I will ruminate on your question about price. My initial reaction is that you have a two tier. Established publications, and an emerging publication fee. 

Three more questions that I have, that I think are important to the fee value question you are asking.

1. How will Magazines show up on the platform. Are they somewhat prominent  on the first page.

2. Will the fee be payable in NRVE tokens or are you planning to make this a fiat payment only, like the subscriptions?

3. Where does the fees from publications go? Back into the common reward pool?

Sorry if these seem to have obvious answers. I am just wanting to totally understand.

Emily Barnett posted:

that does help @Ted. I have always understood that a publication was not a niche. But i did not understand that content on a publication still can earn it's 60% of the reward pool and that it is up to the owner to potentially negotiate a percentage of it. So now I have a much better handle on it.

So, making it crystal clear for anyone else coming along. A publication could in theory negotiate with a content maker for say 30% of their rewards earned on the publication with no exclusivity over them to post the same content on niches, or say only a 10% take of the rewards collected from being on the publication, with a total exclusivity. Plus they get some potential ad revs, and paywall subscriptions. This makes sense.

I will ruminate on your question about price. My initial reaction is that you have a two tier. Established publications, and an emerging publication fee. 

Three more questions that I have, that I think are important to the fee value question you are asking.

1. How will Magazines show up on the platform. Are they somewhat prominent  on the first page.

2. Will the fee be payable in NRVE tokens or are you planning to make this a fiat payment only, like the subscriptions?

3. Where does the fees from publications go? Back into the common reward pool?

Sorry if these seem to have obvious answers. I am just wanting to totally understand.

1. What do you mean by "magazine"?  Are you just talking about publications in general?  TBD on how we promote them, but the content itself would be fully integrated like all other content. Narrators could follow publications and thus have the content pulled into their personal content streams.  

2.  Publication fee payment methods likely will be the same as for niches - NRVE and fiat options.

3.  All publication owner fees will go into Narrative Rewards pool.

So finally  answering your question, @Ted i think the structure that you added in the specification is pretty good.Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 3.43.25 PM

I think you should increase the basic level. (not a fan of the name...maybe Emerging sounds better) maybe something like $150 - 200 paid for in fiat or NRVE. and I would increase the number of content creators from 10 up to 15. and ad an extra few guest content posts.

Business level ( I like Intermediate) i would do $450-500 and i would do a few less guest posts per month, and less content creators. (just checking that this is content creators and not posts. the publication needs to be able to post daily just like any other social platform)

Enterprise ( i like Established) I think I would lower this fee. this is a really big jump, especially for a renewable fee. $1,900- 2,100 maybe.

that's my two cents worth since you asked. Hope it helps.

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Emily Barnett posted:

So finally  answering your question, @Ted i think the structure that you added in the specification is pretty good.Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 3.43.25 PM

I think you should increase the basic level. (not a fan of the name...maybe Emerging sounds better) maybe something like $150 - 200 paid for in fiat or NRVE. and I would increase the number of content creators from 10 up to 15. and ad an extra few guest content posts.

Business level ( I like Intermediate) i would do $450-500 and i would do a few less guest posts per month, and less content creators. (just checking that this is content creators and not posts. the publication needs to be able to post daily just like any other social platform)

Enterprise ( i like Established) I think I would lower this fee. this is a really big jump, especially for a renewable fee. $1,900- 2,100 maybe.

that's my two cents worth since you asked. Hope it helps.

The part that I find a bit strange is that it looks like only the Enterprise level can share in content creator revenue?  Why is that a good idea?

I feel like all Publications would benefit from being able to do this, and restricting it to Enterprise level creates an unnecessary barrier to entry.  With the creator revenue sharing, there's a clear path to viability.  Without it, there isn't.

If you are just trying to create value for the Enterprise level subscription, why not distinguish it with more flexibility in the sharing?  For instance all levels could be allowed to share in their creators' revenue, but only Enterprise level could set the sharing percentage on a per creator basis - allowing them to vary how much they reward their creators based on tiers they earn through the quality and productivity of their work, and perhaps seniority too.  And maybe the Basic level is restricted not only in having to apply one percentage regimen to all creators: perhaps they only have two or three percentages to choose from.  Like 50/50 and 100/0.  Or 50/50, 75/25 and 100/0.

But maybe I'm still misunderstanding something fundamental about all of this.

Malkazoid posted:
Emily Barnett posted:

So finally  answering your question, @Ted i think the structure that you added in the specification is pretty good.Screen Shot 2019-03-13 at 3.43.25 PM

I think you should increase the basic level. (not a fan of the name...maybe Emerging sounds better) maybe something like $150 - 200 paid for in fiat or NRVE. and I would increase the number of content creators from 10 up to 15. and ad an extra few guest content posts.

Business level ( I like Intermediate) i would do $450-500 and i would do a few less guest posts per month, and less content creators. (just checking that this is content creators and not posts. the publication needs to be able to post daily just like any other social platform)

Enterprise ( i like Established) I think I would lower this fee. this is a really big jump, especially for a renewable fee. $1,900- 2,100 maybe.

that's my two cents worth since you asked. Hope it helps.

The part that I find a bit strange is that it looks like only the Enterprise level can share in content creator revenue?  Why is that a good idea?

I feel like all Publications would benefit from being able to do this, and restricting it to Enterprise level creates an unnecessary barrier to entry.  With the creator revenue sharing, there's a clear path to viability.  Without it, there isn't.

If you are just trying to create value for the Enterprise level subscription, why not distinguish it with more flexibility in the sharing?  For instance all levels could be allowed to share in their creators' revenue, but only Enterprise level could set the sharing percentage on a per creator basis - allowing them to vary how much they reward their creators based on tiers they earn through the quality and productivity of their work, and perhaps seniority too.  And maybe the Basic level is restricted not only in having to apply one percentage regimen to all creators: perhaps they only have two or three percentages to choose from.  Like 50/50 and 100/0.  Or 50/50, 75/25 and 100/0.

But maybe I'm still misunderstanding something fundamental about all of this.

I am just guessing here, @Ted would certainly have to clarify, but i assumed from what he said in this post that this meant it was up to the publication owner to negotiate the rate, and that the platform would not divide rewards up...content creators would have to send their share over to the publication via tips maybe. 

and that Enterprise level the system does support the payment split. 

If I am interpreting this table correctly. It does leave the two lower levels really at a risky place for their investment. I think that publications will need some heavy detailing work, to get it across the finish line later this year.

Re: "Share in Content Creator Revenue"--

This a feature we plan to support for publications (though potentially not for all plans, as shown in the old proposed plan summary) whereby a publication can take all or a portion of the content creator rewards for content posted to the publication. It is not a negotiated rate-- it is a percentage set by the publication itself for all content posted to that publication.

The use case there is a brand or other large company that is already paying its content creators via an employment contract/salary.  They may (rightly) determine that the revenue earned by their employed writers should go completely (or partially) to them, since they are already compensating the writers themselves.

In any scenario where a publication captures content creator rewards, this fact will be made clear on the publication and when a writer tries to post content for the publication. Note that publications can also tightly control WHO can post to their publications.

@Ted, I think publications would be a very welcome feature. I come from Medium, and the vast majority of editors there are in search of an alternative - within a community - because publications on Medium are just a toy, with no tools.

I think there is a difference between editors with curation purposes and business brands.

Editors with publishing purposes want a topic to be well curated (at least when the publication is still not a business) and, usually, don't have great resources. They need a full-functioning publication, with a high limit for content creators, but a low initial fee. $99 might already be a lot, especially when no profit is planned to be there. Also, the basic plan is pretty unattractive (it doesn't even provide categories) for any publication.

On the other side, I see business brands. For them, a publication might just be a marketing investment, like advertising. They might not care about direct income, and willing to pay in the thousands just to have their flag in one more place.

While both extremes should, after all, "provide value" and pay for what's offered by the platform, I see that a common pricing path is not fitting.

IMO, I would lower fixed fees (with an entry level around no more than $50-$60/year) and have price increases by metrics which constitute a cost for the platform (traffic levels? number of collaborators? payment transactions?).

@Ted, one thing is not clear to me (maybe to others?) is the possible exclusivity between niches and publications, or between publications. Maybe three niches plus one possible (more?) publication is the model, for a single piece? Will be "multi-publishing" on more publications allowed or just republishing? That's an important point when evaluating what owning a publication on Narrative means.

Vico Biscotti posted:

@Ted, one thing is not clear to me (maybe to others?) is the possible exclusivity between niches and publications, or between publications. Maybe three niches plus one possible (more?) publication is the model, for a single piece? Will be "multi-publishing" on more publications allowed or just republishing? That's an important point when evaluating what owning a publication on Narrative means.

Hi @Vico Biscotti - ANY piece of content in Narrative can be associated with niches. The whole point of niches is to correlate content with specific subjects to allow people to easily find content that matches their own interests.  And even for content posted to a publication, that applies. After all, if I have a publication, I want it to attract an audience. Niches help expand the audience base for everyone.

The only major rule is that a piece of content cannot be posted to both a personal journal and a publication.  You have to pick one or the other (or neither). But in all cases, you can (and IMO should) associated your content with niches.

Example: I have a general technology-oriented publication that I own. I post about Apple's new iPhone.  Even if my publication is doing well and has a decent audience, it is still in my best interest to associate my iPhone post to niches for iPhone, Apple, and perhaps "Mobile Phones".  After all, I want everyone following those niches to see my content... and that drives interest in my own publication.

Vico Biscotti posted:

@Ted, I think publications would be a very welcome feature. I come from Medium, and the vast majority of editors there are in search of an alternative - within a community - because publications on Medium are just a toy, with no tools.

I think there is a difference between editors with curation purposes and business brands.

Editors with publishing purposes want a topic to be well curated (at least when the publication is still not a business) and, usually, don't have great resources. They need a full-functioning publication, with a high limit for content creators, but a low initial fee. $99 might already be a lot, especially when no profit is planned to be there. Also, the basic plan is pretty unattractive (it doesn't even provide categories) for any publication.

On the other side, I see business brands. For them, a publication might just be a marketing investment, like advertising. They might not care about direct income, and willing to pay in the thousands just to have their flag in one more place.

While both extremes should, after all, "provide value" and pay for what's offered by the platform, I see that a common pricing path is not fitting.

IMO, I would lower fixed fees (with an entry level around no more than $50-$60/year) and have price increases by metrics which constitute a cost for the platform (traffic levels? number of collaborators? payment transactions?).

@Vico Biscotti - agree about Medium. We originally put Narrative's blog there (because Narrative did not exist yet) and watched as they kept stripping away features (including support for custom domains). I'm not sure why any business would want to set up a blog on Medium now, especially since it is paywalled so extensively.  With Narrative, they will have the control they desire, but also have the opportunity to promote to a growing audience and earn revenue in a transparent environment.

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