ALM is set to launch a free digital membership program for legal professionals later this month.
The legal and commercial real estate news publisher is looking to expand its consumer base by offering a bundled news service package that includes five free articles a month, newsletters, news alerts and access to ALM’s database where some previously archived subscriber-only stories will now be made available. The digital reader program, launching August 23, 2013, is cost-free.
UPDATE: The catalyst for the creation of the digital membership program, according to ALM SVP and chief marketing officer Lenny Izzo, is mainly consumer convenience.
“We’d just seen that our audience had been changing in how they consume media,” Izzo says. “A big part of the change for us was the significant adoption of mobile and the engagement on social media.”
Izzo says ALM made a big effort to transform into a digital-first company as a result. Another factor that contributed to the program’s creation was the significant increase in traffic on ALM websites from mobile devices, an increase of around 80 percent July over July from last year, according to Izzo.
“Digital membership establishes a simple way for us to serve today’s subscribers and future subscribers with the online news content they want, when and where they want it,” says Jeffrey S. Litvack, chief digital officer at ALM in a statement.
The free membership package includes digital access to five news articles every month from three controlled circulation publications, online access to news alerts, newsletters and previously archived news stories, and discounts on ALM products and services.
“Subscribers will now have an easier way to click through to the content they want to read and non-subscribers will have a viable option for continuing to read by viewing five free stories a month,” Litvack contends.
UPDATE: This movement of content from behind the paywall to the forefront with free access is a key advantage for subscribers, says Izzo.
“The benefit to paid members is the ability to share the content to colleagues and potential clients,” Izzo says. “This ability to pass on a story to a colleague digitally makes that sharing process, either from social media or from your inbox newsletter, easier.”
Digital membership holders have free and unlimited online access to three controlled circulation publications: Corporate Counsel, Law Technology News and The Asian Lawyer. ALM maintains that their four paid premium publications—Supreme Court Brief, Litigation Daily, New Jersey Law Journal Decision Alert and Delaware Business Court Insider—will continue to be accessible only to each publication’s subscribers. Paid subscribers will also maintain exclusive access to premium reports and briefings, including the Am Law 100 report.
UPDATE: The decision to only allow five free news articles per monthly cycle was a strategic move on ALM’s part.
“We want non-paid subscribers to test, trial, read and consume at least five articles a month across the network,” Izzo contends. “We felt that five was reflective of the engagement level of our readers on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.”