Facebook recently announced a new subscription scheme in a bid to address what seems to be a decline in revenue. Prices start at $11.99 if using the Web and go up to $14.99 if using mobile devices. While rollout dates for Southeast Asia have not been announced, the service will be starting this week in Australia and New Zealand.
It is important to note that Facebook’s value proposition in promoting the new service at a cost is to make the blue tick a verified badge to highlight authenticity. Similarly, the subscription will also include access to more security features and direct access to customer support. It makes one think, though, if it means that accounts not subscribed to the service will have less secure features and have a more challenging time reaching out to support. Will there be a service compromise/degradation if not subscribed?
There is no news yet if the same will be rolled out for businesses registered on Facebook. This means that the subscription currently applies to individuals using the platform and, of course, we imagine celebrities, government officials, and other known personalities opting to immediately subscribe lest their accounts be compromised at some point in the near future. It is also imperative for users who get revenue from Facebook — vloggers, streamers, and others — to look at the service as well.
With the Philippines belonging to the top tier in terms of the number of users on Facebook, it remains to be seen how the service can be accessed by the general population as not everyone may have access to paying for the service through digital means. Moreover, what does this mean to Juan de la Cruz for whom Facebook is for entertainment purposes only? Will consuming content become only accessible at a price, similar to Netflix and other streaming platforms?
Understandably, Facebook’s move is to more address revenue issues similar to how Elon Musk has moved to do the same at Twitter. In a sense, it validates that customers could be willing to pay for the service if only to have access to authenticity and security features — things that are top concerns in engaging online.
At a macro level, charging for new service features is a pricing model that companies can look into when going through some challenges. In our consulting work, there are many other innovation tactics available that can be explored, and will not only address revenue but also operations, efficiency, customer experience, and many others. To a certain extent, this is how we are seeing social media platforms innovate — and possibly transform — from a used-to-be-free, anything-goes type of service and digital interaction to potentially a more secured, filtered way of engaging with a preferred audience.
Kay Calpo Lugtu is the chief operating officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include food innovation, nation-building and sustainability. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.