USA Today has launched an ad-free subscription offering for its mobile app for $2.99 a month.
Andy Yost, CMO of USA Today Network, said the new subscription option was created to give readers more choice.
“The decision to introduce ad-free into our mobile experience stemmed from the dozens of comments in our app’s reviews section of people essentially asking for an ad-free version of the app that they’d be willing to pay for it,” he said.
USA Today is offering a 14-day free trial for mobile readers. Its site will remain free, though it does ask readers to turn off ad blockers when detected.
The offering isn’t necessarily about driving revenue, he added, but to experiment to see what readers respond to.
“We’re particularly interested in looking at what type of consumer responds to the ad-free offering,” Yost said. “For us, we see ad-free as a way to test what consumers are willing to pay for, what percentage will actually pay, and how many of the free-trial (two-week promo) subscribers will continue on to the paid version.”
Yost said the USA Today Network is exploring adding additional premium options, such as exclusive content or early access to content.
The ad-free subscription option is available via an in-app purchase on iOS and Android mobile phones and iOS tablets. The offering will expand to Android tablets next month.
A number of publishers now give readers the chance to pay for an ad-free experience, to ward off the use of ad-blockers and to stymie the resulting lost digital ad revenue. (The number of people using ad-blocking software rose by 30% worldwide in 2016, according to a PageFair study.)
In April,The Atlantic erected a paywall against online readers using ad-blockers, giving readers two options: whitelist the site, or pay for an ad-free subscription.
Early this year, The Wall Street Journal announced it was exploring an ad-free digital offering.