Sports Illustrated Tests Annoying Paywall

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By Chris O'Shea Comment

Would you rather pay cash, or be annoyed by a video ad in order to access online content? That’s the question Sports Illustrated is looking to answer via a paywall system currently being tested. Adweek reports that SI is experimenting with a paywall that allows readers to access print articles early if they watch a 30-second ad first:

Akin to the Hulu and YouTube ad swap model, viewers are offered a choice of ads to watch (Del Monte vegetables and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were two recent options), the assumption being that if people get a choice of which ad to watch, they’re more likely to recall it and buy the product. Once the visitor watches the ad, the article is unlocked for a 24-hour period.

There’s little we hate more than video ads, but we have to give SI and Selectable Media — the company responsible for the paywall ad system — credit for trying this. Squeezing cash out of readers who don’t subscribe is the ultimate challenge.

This could be a big win if people get so annoyed by the video ads that they end up buying a SI subscription. Although we assume there are some people out there who actually enjoy ads for canned peas, and still won’t pay up.