Digital Publishing Reader Revenue
3 mins read

Single-purchase news tech launches in Sweden, from the founders of Acast

Paywall technology to drive new revenues without cannibalizing existing digital subscriptions

Sesamy, the digital content platform from the founders of Acast, has signed a partnership with leading Swedish news publication Breakit as part of an ambitious expansion into news and magazine content.

With further agreements to be announced shortly, Sesamy will enable Breakit to introduce a single-purchase option for its premium articles, having generated its revenues from subscriptions and advertisements until now.

At Sesamy we believe when a user does not choose to sign up for a digital news subscription, it certainly does not indicate a lack of willingness to pay for access to quality journalism – a bedrock of any vibrant democracy. 

On the contrary, the subscription-driven revival of excellent journalism means there remains a high demand for single purchases of articles from users, who have been unable to access this option until now. Our mission is, therefore, to work with renowned publishers like Breakit to expand our offering to all consumers and drive incremental revenues to support further growth in exceptional journalism. 

This is especially true for readers without the disposable income to invest concurrently in several news and magazine subscriptions. Sesamy will work to the benefit of these consumers in particular, by bridging existing inequalities in access to premium news while supporting creators and publishers that are missing out on much-needed income at a turbulent time. 

Måns Ulvestam, CEO and co-founder of Sesamy

Significantly, Breakit will pioneer Sesamy’s proprietary paywall technology. Sesamy’s first-of-its-kind technology includes the option to use Sesamy Smart-ID; this ever-evolving technology will enable publishers to monetize non-subscribed readers, without cannibalizing their existing revenues from digital subscriptions – a long-held concern of publishers that have previously sought to integrate single-purchases but have remained reliant on subscriptions to plug declines in print circulation.

We are proud and excited to launch single-purchase articles as a complement to our subscription offering. This new way of monetizing premium content to a broader audience aligns well with our user feedback and our long-term product strategy.

John Boman, Product Owner at Breakit

However, the mass-subscription model has become saturated, with soaring prices resulting in a slowdown in reader growth, exacerbated by the cost of living crisis. With advertising revenues also expected to decline as the global economy faces a downturn, the increasing need to source incremental revenue streams means Sesamy’s single-purchase offering comes at a vital time for newspapers and magazines alike.

With an emphasis on driving sustained reader engagement through single purchases, Sesamy’s tech-driven approach to monetising journalism will also seek to cultivate new readerships derived from younger generations that are willing to invest in reporting that leaves a profound impact on them in the years ahead.

Karl Rosander, Chairman and co-founder of Sesamy

Zombie subscriptions – whereby consumers pay recurring fees for subscriptions they do not use – have become commonplace in the digital world, leading to increasing consumer churn, as seen by Netflix losing a million subscribers in Q2. To counter this detrimental trend, Sesamy’s single-purchase alternative will support publishers to sow the seeds for sustained reader engagement; consumers will have the option to buy articles on specific topics, or authored by particular writers, ensuring more personalized offerings that generate transparent new revenue streams. 

To support its publisher-partners, Sesamy’s software will also include built-in price optimization that suggests a fair price to readers, in order to maximize revenues through in-depth analytics. This is designed to work as a complement to subscriptions, not competition, by telling a user when it would be preferable financially to purchase a subscription to their chosen newspaper or magazine.