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 bonusesâ€”subscription revenue, more detailed demographics, etc.â€”some publishers are struggling with whether itâ€™s worth sacrificing traffic.
â€śIf your brand is strong enough as a news analysis source, especially in the b-to-b space, then I say go for it,â€ť said John Rockwell, vice president of marketing and e-media for Access Intelligenceâ€™s Chemical Business Media. â€śItâ€™s about making every customer touch count. If youâ€™re not, then youâ€™re leaving money on the table.â€ť
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. â€śWe had a paid content system before, but not a smart one,â€ť Rockwell said. â€śWhile weâ€™re requiring that people register we also dramatically improved the user experienceâ€”in terms of making access to the content as easy as possibleâ€”which, we think, balances the perceived trade-off.â€ť
Nearly all content at Chemweek.com is accessed only by subscription. Sub prices range from $200 to â€śseveral thousand dollarsâ€ť annually for e-newsletters, white papers and other â€śhigh valueâ€ť services, Rockwell said. Chemical Engineeringâ€™s 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.
â€śWeâ€™ve been lucky in that weâ€™ve been able to turn users into subscribers, and scoop up more market share while we were at it,â€ť Rockwell said. â€śIn this down economy, Iâ€™ll take it.â€ť