Pocket, the save-for-later service that recently upgraded its API in order to make it easier for devs to integrate its services, today announced a new effort on the content partnership side, with new long-form storytelling publication Matter. Matter was a Kickstarter-backed initiative, which raised $140,000 ($90,000 more than it was originally looking for) to bring extended, well-researched science and tech reporting to the web a single story at a time.
The new partnership sees Matter’s content available directly through Pocket to Matter’s subscribers (subscriptions run 99 cents per month), via their Site Subscription feature. You just enter your credentials into Pocket’s settings and you’ll be able to read content saved from the publication in your app. The deal is an example of how Pocket is trying to work with publishers to make sure its save-for-later services stay fair of any paywalls or gated access plans that may be in place. For Matter’s readers, it’s another level of added convenience for a digital publication that wants to be accessible on whatever platforms its subscribers prefer.
Site subscriptions operate on iOS, Android and Kindle Fire versions of Pocket for now, though plans for including it in other versions (like the recently released native Mac client) are also in the works. Read It Later, which was the name under which Pocket was originally born, was criticized in the past for undercutting publisher revenue streams like display advertising. Site Subscriptions offers a way for it to now tread lightly with publisher partners to avoid similar criticisms, while still offering ways for readers who have paid for content to have full access to it.
For Matter, Pocket is an ideal partner. Long-form content is the bread-and-butter of save-for-later services like Pocket and Instapaper, though the former has moved more into general media saving and bookmarking, while the latter remains primarily focused on text-based publications. But Matter’s publication strategy of “wherever you want to read, that’s where we are” differs considerably from the plan of something like The Daily, which keeps things exclusively walled within its own iPad app. The Daily and Matter had many other differences aside from that one, but Pocket’s willingness to embrace a variety of publication mediums may help it succeed where its fellow digital-only publication stumbled and failed.
Next up for Pocket, I’d love to see it partner with Matter and other quality publishers to deliver direct access to content from a range of sources, instead of just offering the authorization option it does now. That would be a significant step away from Pocket’s current identity as a nearly transparent service layer for web-based content sourced elsewhere, but it seems like it could be something both readers and pubs like Matter would be interested in supporting.