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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

BuzzFeed to ask readers if they want to contribute money

The online publisher said on Monday that it would start testing a ‘Contribute’ button at the bottom of news articles

A television monitor displays BuzzFeed content in the company’s office in New York. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
A television monitor displays BuzzFeed content in the company’s office in New York. Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

BuzzFeed is asking readers to help pay for its news operation, marking the latest attempt by digital media outlets to find ways to make money beyond advertising.

The online publisher said on Monday that it would start testing a "Contribute" button at the bottom of news articles. BuzzFeed has no plans to create an online paywall.

The company is working on the test with Alphabet’s Google, whose research has found that some BuzzFeed readers would be willing to pay for its news. The Guardian, a British newspaper with a large online presence in the US, has tried a similar model. By contributing, BuzzFeed readers will get updates on investigations and programming, as well as other perks. The button will give readers the option to pay “whatever you like”, ranging from $5 to $100.

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Like other media companies, BuzzFeed is trying to develop a diverse mix of revenue as Google and Facebook swallow the majority of online advertising dollars. In a May interview with Bloomberg, BuzzFeed chief executive Jonah Peretti said he wants his company to make money in TV and films, e-commerce, and licensing or merchandising.

Mr Peretti said he was also considering “focused subscription products” in areas such as education, gaming or lifestyle media.