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Huffpost rolls out membership scheme in US but no plans yet for UK

Huffpost membership scheme

Huffpost has rolled out a membership scheme in the US that will give readers access to exclusive newsletters and ad-free pages, although its web articles all remain free.

The news website’s membership scheme has three tiers, with a free bottom tier and a top tier costing just under $100 (£76.59) per year.

Press Gazette understands there are not yet plans to roll out the scheme in the UK but that this could change depending on its success in the US.

Users who register for free can save and read bookmarked stories across devices and sign up to newsletters which they can customise to their own interests.

Monthly supporters paying $5.99 (£4.59) a month will receive member-only newsletters, Huffpost merchandise discounts and an “ad-free app experience” which limits mobile advertising to international articles and video pre-roll ads.

Annual fee payers, the top membership tier, get the same features and a Huffpost t-shirt.

Writing for Huffpost US, editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen said the membership system would “help us keep reporting the stories that matter most to you”.

She added: “Our membership programme is not a paywall because we believe our journalism should remain freely available to everyone – not just those who can afford to pay.”

A Huffpost spokesperson confirmed the membership scheme is currently only being rolled out in the US.

Verizon Media, the US-headquartered publisher of Huffpost and Yahoo, posted a 1 per cent increase in revenue to $34.28bn in the last three months of 2018.

But its net income for the period was down to a little more than $2bn from $18.7bn in Q4 the previous year.

The company revealed plans to lay off 7 per cent of its staff in January this year.

The introduction of a membership scheme at Huffpost US comes after the Guardian revealed late last year it had received financial contributions and donations from 1m readers since introducing the model in March 2016.

Editor Kath Viner said more than half of the title’s 600,000 one-off donors came from the US, and that Guardian Media Group is on track to succeed in a three-year plan to turn around its finances as a result.

Picture: Huffpost US

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