We’ve been working hard backstage to improve what we offer, from the basic watchlist to analytics. We often update our products, too, so they’re at the forefront of best practices and (mostly) bug-free. We’re quite proud of what we’ve created so far, and we believe that our future looks bright, with several valuable new features to help our users make sense of the markets and economy. Our next update is so far-reaching that it will affect every part of our service and our business, so we decided to create this post for it. We’re aiming to become the Spotify and Netfllx of the financial content world, a sort of one-stop-shop for all financial content needs, and this is another step in that journey.
Our databases are growing rapidly, and we already process over one million stories per day on hundreds of thousands of topics. We’re aiming for hundreds of millions of topics and tens of millions of stories processed every day as the ultimate goal. We’ve expanded the number of sources we draw from, consequently increasing the volume of content we process – and we’ve formed partnerships with multiple content suppliers to bring paywalled and even non-public premium content into our systems. We’ve been working on translation, sentiment analysis, spam detection, and document processing for regulatory filings and investor reports. Bringing all this data together, processing it, and delivering it along with so many real-time metrics and analytics requires huge computing and storage resources.
We conducted an informal unsophisticated survey through our pricing page, and nearly 30% of you, our users, were willing to pay for our services and rejected the idea of bringing in advertising to finance the platform. That’s perfectly understandable, and we agree that sometimes advertising can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, we cannot continue to supply our users with all of these features and content without revenue. Some features, like licenses for access to paywalled content, cost us money even when they aren’t used, while the amount of computational resources we need grows with the number of users we have and the volume of information coming into our systems.
So, we’ve made the difficult decision to convert some features to paid access, and we will release some of the new services, like sentiment analysis, under a paid access scheme as well. We will always offer a free option to support our core vision of democratising access to financial content.
What this means for you
All registered users will be converted to our free Basic plan in early June 2019. You don’t have to do anything to convert, as we’ll do it automatically. Anyone that signs up after the conversation date will automatically be registered under the Basic plan, too.
Some previously free features will be converted to Silver or Gold plans. This includes access to Twitter content, unlimited watchlists, and many topics per watchlist. Some new features will be accessible only under Silver and Gold plans as well.
This new tiered subscription scheme is called CityFALCON Premium, and the coolest features include:
- Translation into English for most pieces of content,
- Advertisement-free access on our platform,
- Access to paywalled content from partners – without the paywall
- Access to certain non-public content
Here is an illustration of a user and the translation feature:
These effectively transform our platform into your one-stop-shop subscription service, since you won’t need to subscribe to the other services for just a few articles a month and you won’t need to find translation services for global content. The advertisement-free reading makes your research less cluttered and therefore more efficient, while the paywall feature basically pays for itself after just a few articles.
As we build out the product, some of the near-term features include sentiment analysis, archival search up to five years into the past, translation into other languages, various analytics, offline reading, and API access.
You’ll be able to subscribe to the free Basic tier or to one of the two paid tiers, Silver and Gold. Each one naturally has different features available to it, and you can see them in more detail on this page in our Knowledge Base. In fact, you can learn much more about our Premium service and get answers to a lot of your questions in the section dedicated to Premium in the Knowledge Base.
Not all of these features are completed yet, so you might not see them right away. But every time we release a feature, we’ll make sure to add it to the pricing page. If you’re on the fence about converting to Silver or Gold because a particular feature is yet to be released, check there once in a while. Or watch out for our update emails, as we will promote the new features as they come online.
Trials for Premium
Since this is a paid service, it would be unfair to not give you a preview. So our Silver plans start with a 7-day free trial with full access to the Silver tier features. You can cancel anytime during the trial and revert back to the lower tier. If you like the features a lot, though, you might stay.
Due to the high incremental costs of Gold subscriptions, we are unable to offer trials right now. But you can always sign up for one month and revert to Silver if you don’t like it.
The first release does not support trials. We apologise for the inconvenience, and we are working to fix the issue as soon as possible. Once we have the feature tested and ready, we will announce it in an email, so watch for our update emails.
Our Pricing Decision
We needed to find a good price for our users that reflects our vision of information democratisation. To do that, we priced the subscriptions as low as possible to ensure we can serve as many subscribers as possible. Moreover, we have taken a longer-is-better approach. So, if you sign up for a longer commitment, we discount the price. It’s your standard pricing stuff, but, for longer commitments, you also lock in a low price before demand rises and prices potentially rise, too.
Our pricing reflects our costs as well. Naturally higher storage and computational costs are part of the final price, but so are other costs like the legal licensing of copyrighted content. One of the features likely to be popular is reading advertisement-free paywalled content without the need to sign up for partner providers – this costs us quite a lot of money, but it alone might be a reason some users opt for the Premium plans.
Of course, you can always try the service for a month or two then commit to a longer plan if you like it. In a few months we’ll also have released even more features, so you might want to wait to see if you like those first then sign up for an annual subscription.
As for the currency of the transaction, while we are a UK-based company, we’ve already expanded to Ukraine and Malta, and the majority of our users hail from other parts of the world. For that reason, we’ve decided to price everything in US Dollars for now.
Payment Processing and Security
For those security-minded users – which you all should be! – we have decided to work with a third-party payment processor that is well-qualified in processing financial transactions. It takes a lot of certifications and extra security efforts to protect financial data, which is, unsurprisingly, a very prominent target for hackers. You can find out more about our payment processor in our Knowledge Base article on them.
You won’t need to sign up with the payment processor, and everything you need will be available from the Subscription Portal on your account. You can find it on the left sidebar on the website, or in the “More” tab in the mobile app (which will send you to the mobile website). We will redirect you to payment processor’s secure website for all the processing, and they handle all your financial data. If you need to cancel or change your subscription package, you can easily navigate from our Subscription Portal to their platform and complete your changes there.
The Mobile Apps and the Website
Every time you access our website, you get the latest software code and developments at the same time as everyone else. So when you first come to the website after the conversion, you’ll see all the new features that we already completed. You will also see which features have been converted to paid ones and how to sign up for them if that is what you decide to do.
For the mobile apps, though, we cannot change the code that’s already on your phone! That would be dangerous for your security, and we probably wouldn’t be able to pass the app store inspections like that. To be honest, we don’t want that much responsibility, anyway.
So, you might start encountering errors on the mobile platform if you don’t update. Some of them are due to the conversion of free to paid features, but others are compatibility issues with our new systems. Besides, if you don’t update, you won’t get to see the new features and design.
With the new revenue streams, we’ll be able to charge ahead with different projects, like spam detection, better optimisations, and cross-language content (not just translation but foreign language content delivered like it was your own language). Many analytics are on the way, too, along with structured data from regulatory filings (SEC 10K, 10Q, etc.) and content classification.
As our databases grow, the granularity of the data we provide will grow, too, so you’ll get deeper insights into the markets. As time goes on, you’ll be able to look back further and gather insights that previously would have been missed because the data was too noisy. As we build our coffers we can build better products for you, too, which is our ultimate goal: research in tech and delivering value to our customers.