Scroll, a platform that gives readers an ad-free reading experience on partner news sites for $5 a month, launched officially in late January after a few years of significant industry fanfare.
what if we don’t move fast and break things? @tryscroll spent a yearlong beta perfecting their ad-free news idea and thinking about what a better internet would look like. @arctictony talked to me for @niemanlab on the eve of their launch. https://t.co/NhGeXuPLVh
— Sarah Scire (@SarahScire) January 29, 2020
Scroll founder Tony Haile has recruited 300 news organizations to participate — many of which have been anxiously awaiting the technology. Now that consumers can opt-in to the experience, Haile is hopeful Scroll membership and publisher partnerships will grow the subscription ad-blocking service, creating a more secure and sustainable future for publishers than advertising revenue can guarantee.
Haile shares what his journey with Scroll has been like and what’s next.
First, remind everyone about what Scroll does and how it all works.
Scroll is a membership to a better internet where members get a clean, fast, experience on the sites they visit and publishers make more money than from ads. When members visit sites within the network, the site recognizes them and loads their page with no ads, no Outbrain paid recirculated ads, and without the trackers that sell or leak personal browsing data to 3rd parties. We don’t get people past paywalls or interfere with that in any way, and we’re currently averaging a $46 RPM [revenue per 1,000 impressions] across the network.
With the recent rollout, tell us a little about where Scroll is today. What companies you are working with, where the product is at, etc.?
More than 300 premium sites are already Scroll-enabled including local media like The Philadelphia Inquirer, and we’ve seen more than 150 others apply to join since launch [Jan. 28]. Every month we tell our members which new sites are being added and where their money went last month.
this is fun. my first full month using @tryscroll I can now see where my subscription dollars went! I see nearly 80% of my pie going to @dcnorg members. Love it, @arctictony. pic.twitter.com/JdmBQ213Pc
— Jason Kint (@jason_kint) February 27, 2020
How are the companies you are working with saying the experience has been for them and their users?
Two quotes from the Digiday piece following launch who interviewed the publishers directly:
“Sources at several participating publishers have applauded Scroll for being easy for their development teams to set up.”
“Two sources at participating publishers said that the test generated about twice as much revenue per user as they could realize through ads.”
Any data you have been able to collect so far that would be interesting to share?
The $46 RPM is a useful data point and launch signups massively outpaced expectations. Something that’s been happening that’s fun is that Scroll members have been also subscribing to our partner publishers (one even proudly sent us the receipt to prove it) because they’re Scroll enabled. When they know the site is going to be clean, fast and safe, it’s easier to develop a relationship that naturally leads to subscription.
What’s next for you and Scroll?
Our path is pretty simple. Every member who joins Scroll becomes twice as valuable to the sites they visit. That means more sites join which creates more value to attract more members. In that way, site by site, member by member, the internet gets better and the journalism I love becomes more secure.
The launch of @tryscroll today is an incredibly good news for online journalism. Good journalism doesn’t come for free, @tryscroll is an extension that removes ads from partner publications (Vox Media, G/O Media) in exchange for a monthly small membership fee. I subscribed!
— Stephane Rangaya (@stephane) January 28, 2020
I’ve just signed up to @tryscroll thanks to @AndroidPolice. I absolutely adore that they’re trying something *other* than yet more adverts polluting the content. Instead, Scroll has a transparent & fair way to compensate these amazing content creators based on time spent reading.
— Dan Caseley (@Fishbowler) February 12, 2020
My @tryscroll free trial ended, and so far I’m pretty happy with this sort of ‘Netflix for reading on the web’ service. Paid up. Worth it.https://t.co/sHKlrvowe5
— David Chartier (@chartier) March 2, 2020
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