A breakdown of PWYW

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Recently, we released the Pay What You Want feature to our publishers. This feature allows audiences to pay more than the purchase price for content and further support the work they love.

Several publishers helped us beta test this feature in an effort to better understand how customers would use it. What we found proved to be incredibly informative and we'd love to share some of the key details that went into the creation of this product.

How Many People Pay More? How Much More?

Across the 13 titles that used the beta version of PWYW, 34% of customers who paid full price (not including redemptions, coupons, etc.) chose to pay more than the base price. 

Most people gave over of 40% of the asking price, while the average was 75% over due largely to a few big money contributors. Consider this in the context of a $10 film as seen in the chart below:

  Traditional   PWYW
Film Price $10 $10
Sales 100 100
# PWYW sales - 34%
Revenue $1000 $1255
Increase in Revenue   25.5%

Does Base Price Make a Difference?

Not really. The price contributes less than 5% to the number of PWYW customers based on our sample. Most of the reason people pay more in the first place turns out to be the type of content and the connection with the creator, not the price of the content. Generally speaking, you should price your content first without thinking about PWYW, then add the feature.

Does Type of Content Matter?

Based on the data we have, customers pay an average of $5.99 above the base price for content that is linked to some kind of cause or social impact, as opposed to $3.39 above the base price otherwise. Think socially charged documentaries or films that work hand in concert with a nonprofit organization.  If you are supporting something, make sure to mention it!

Should I let people pay more to unlock extra content?

No. During the beta, some publishers provided bonus content to anyone who paid a certain amount over the purchase price. This seemed to be a good way to incentivize customers to pay more, but as it turns out this method is less effective in increasing the final price.

When people pay more to get content  buying a deluxe product, they are willing to pay what they think the product is worth. When there is no product attached however, customers must decide how much it is worth to  support a publisher in whom they believe. It turns out that is a much stronger motivation.

  No Bonus Content Bonus Content
Average Paid Over Base Price $12.09 $3.39
Median $5.00 $2.00
Average Percent Increase Over Base Price 132% 60%
Median 60% 20%