People are paying for ad-free website access, and engaging well with other exclusive features

Construction of The Mercury News sign in San Jose, Calif., on Sept. 30, 2014. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

As we near the end of our Google News Initiative-funded project period this fall, I can’t help but look back in amazement at how much we’ve accomplished in a year.

We launched four key features intended to increase revenue and drive user engagement, all focused on improving the experience for paying customers. Paid ad-free website access is now available on 13 local news websites, including The Mercury News, The Orange County Register, Press-Enterprise and more. Subscribers in the thousands are paying more for this premium tier. And engagement is steadily rising with location-aware news experiences and live virtual event attendance.

Highly engaged readers should pay more for a better experience

Photo by David Cruz on Unsplash

First, value your audience. Then think about how to treat them.

Ryan Nakashima

Product Manager, Digital Subscriptions, Bay Area News Group. 2016–17 John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford. Former AP technology writer. Problem solver, dad.

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