How One B-to-B Embraced Paid Content
Publisher generated 30,000 new customers, helped stem a 30-year revenue slide.
With ad pages dwindling and the print business model in question, more publishers are debating whether or not to charge for content online. While the practice has its obvious bonusesâsubscription revenue, more detailed demographics, etc.âsome publishers are struggling with whether itâs worth sacrificing traffic.
âIf your brand is strong enough as a news analysis source, especially in the b-to-b space, then I say go for it,â said John Rockwell, vice president of marketing and e-media for Access Intelligenceâs Chemical Business Media. âItâs about making every customer touch count. If youâre not, then youâre leaving money on the table.â
CBM switched its Chemical Week and Chemical Engineering magazine Web sites to a paid-content model at the end of 2007. So far, the group has generated 30,000 new customers which helped stop a 30-year slide in total revenue and revenue per customer. âWe had a paid content system before, but not a smart one,â Rockwell said. âWhile weâre requiring that people register we also dramatically improved the user experienceâin terms of making access to the content as easy as possibleâwhich, we think, balances the perceived trade-off.â
Nearly all content at Chemweek.com is accessed only by subscription. Sub prices range from $200 to âseveral thousand dollarsâ annually for e-newsletters, white papers and other âhigh valueâ services, Rockwell said. Chemical Engineeringâs CHE.com features some free areas, accessed only when users register. Roughly 6 percent of those free users convert to paid subscribers.
Overall, conversions and renewals at both magazines rose 15 percent since late 2007. Revenue per subscriber increased 14 percent. Unique visitors have increased by 225 percent.
âWeâve been lucky in that weâve been able to turn users into subscribers, and scoop up more market share while we were at it,â Rockwell said. âIn this down economy, Iâll take it.â
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