Would you pay 20p to read a story rather than take out a subscription? Axate wants to support journalism and make news easier to read

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  • Axet lets users make casual payments to digital publishers to read stories
  • Articles can cost 20p and some like Yorkshire Past offer day passes
  • Founder Dominic Young said he wanted to find another way to support the news
  • Exet is crowdfunding on Crowdcube and raising around £400,000. has gathered

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‘I’m a classic news junkie. I want them all and it’s really difficult to pick one or two so I manage without which is a real shame,’ says Dominic Young.

The founder of Axet thinks they’ve found a solution to the problem of which online news site or app to pay to read, with their service that lets users pay money to read an article they normally would. But behind a paywall.

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Subscription paywalls are now part of the media landscape, as many online publishers want to rely not only on advertising and asking their readers to pay for news and journalism.

But in the world of Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon Prime, subscriptions can add up fast, so what if there was a middle ground? Exet aims to deliver one, for example, to get people to read an article, or to pay a small amount for a day.

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Dominic Young launched Exet in 2017 to support journalism in the digital world

As a self-confessed news junkie who spent years working at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Young, who launched Exet with fellow former executive Victoria Silberbauer, thinks it’s the pick to pay for news. The End Mix method offers something different.

‘I personally don’t think there is a single model that works for all media. I think most payment models try to treat people in a way when it’s not right,’ he says.

A lot of people have put off the idea of ​​micropayments over the years without taking them off, but Young thinks this more casual approach has considerable benefits, regardless of the way people are charged. Subscription dominates.

The cost of reading an article is set by the publisher and Exet’s system includes a travelcard-style price limit, and once readers hit that any further articles to be read are free.

For example, it may allow a publisher to charge a fee to the same extent as its weekly or monthly subscription.

Exet has attracted attention through Its crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube, which has raised approximately £400,000 and is valued at £11.3million. It currently works with some local and other smaller publishers, but could it persuade some of the bigger players to join the board and change the way people consume news?

The question Young thought before starting Axet was whether there was a way for consumers to pay only for the articles they wanted to read?

For anyone who reads articles online, it has become increasingly clear that the days of the ‘everything on the Internet is free’ mentality are numbered.

There has been a distinct change among some publishers from a completely free ad-supported model to a subscription paywall, this can be either one with a freemium element of a certain number of articles, or a hard paywall where nothing can be read. may pay.

Subscriptions can help businesses make a profit but casual readers are put off and it can be impossible for people to read important checks without paying a monthly fee.

“I think news is like coffee and a sandwich. Asking people to think about it more formally almost guarantees that a great deal will go away.

‘The idea of ​​Exet was born more than 10 years ago when it became clear to me and others that neither advertising nor subscriptions on their own would suffice. What can we do in between? It’s a question that didn’t leave me,’ says Young.

It was not just his experience of the media industry, but his own personal consumption of news and other services that shaped the idea for Exet.

‘The things I subscribe to are things I need all the time and give me everything I need, like Spotify or my phone.

‘Things I don’t subscribe to, there are lots and lots of things I need and I don’t want to be limited to just one, or that my needs are more variable some days than others.

“I think news is like coffee and a sandwich. Asking people to take a more formal look at it almost guarantees that a big chunk will go away.’

Exet users choose an article to read and pay with money in their account

Exet users choose an article to read and pay with money in their account

Interestingly, given that comparison, Pret launched a coffee subscription last autumn. But while it’s attracted thousands of customers, people are paying for their coffee in a way that accounts for a fraction of the casual footfall that occurs on a daily basis and in sales if Pret’s only sells the drink by subscription. There will be a decline.

Although the logic of payment options is understandable, Young knows that large publishers make informed decisions and are unlikely to change existing systems in a hurry.

But he says that the Exet could potentially play into this by sitting alongside the current model.

‘You don’t need a sudden massive shutdown. Down comes the paywall, shuts everyone down, does some very disruptive and hostile work,’ he says.

‘It’s important to me that publishers implementing Axet can do so without that turbulence … and by adding choices they make in terms of their products, their relationships, the growth of their audience and their ability to invest more in the product. can adjust and grow.

How does Exet work?

Once a user signs up for Exet, they can go to a publisher using the system and choose an article to read and pay for from Money Pot in their account.

Exet does not charge readers an upfront fee and instead deducts revenue from publishers.

Currently, this pay-as-you-go method of reading journalism can be used by 15 publishers, some of them local news websites, including the music and celebrity site The Yorkshire Post and the popular email newsletter PopBitch. But it is yet to get bigger…

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