CNN.com refines registration system for highly engaged readers

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CNN is testing requiring users who visit its site frequently to create a free account in order to keep accessing content, reports Axios.

The feature doesn’t qualify as a “paywall” because no subscription or article fee is required to view content, but by requiring frequent visitors to create an account, the media outlet can presumably build up its data storehouse around user habits and interests among other factors.

A CNN source told NewscastStudio that the network has been experimenting with various iterations of a registration system over the past year or so and recently rolled out a more refined version.

According to Axios, users who read more than 10 articles a day may need to create a free account, but CNN told NewscastStudio that that figure is more of a moving target based on user behavior and other factors.

Registering for an account also enrolls users in select CNN email newsletters, which are often seen as a key way for content owners to reach digital users and snag some extra ad revenue.

The network is also using pop-up messages to promote other newsletters and then require an account to subscribe — as opposed to simply entering an email address like in many other setups.

CNN did not respond to questions about how any collected data is being used or if it might be combined with other similar CNN products or parent Warner Bros. Discovery.

Registration has long been required for users to comment on CNN articles and access some email newsletters and that has not been changed.

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CNN isn’t alone in trying to steer users toward registration in order to access news content.

NBCNews.com and ABCNews.com both offer an account creation process, both of which are handled by their parent companies, NBCUniversal and Disney, respectively.

NBC has been nudging users toward registration in order to customize the site with local news headlines and other personalized content, as well as to save articles for reading later, with ABC seemingly relying more on its ties to Disney and its MyDisney account features.

Both conglomerates have their eyes on being able to create profiles on signed-in or otherwise identified users on their products, though not all of those methods are clear.

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