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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - August 2022

What to consider before switching from subscriptions to memberships

A couple of weeks ago, I came across a tweet from Jay Rosen highlighting that the Chicago Sun-Times is going to drop the paywall and launch a membership program based on voluntary contributions (aka a donation model), with the hope that this change will enable them to reach 100,000 digital members over the next five years.

Now, I don't have any internal data or audience profile from the Chicago Sun-Times, so I can't evaluate whether this is an achievable goal. Instead, in this report, I'm going to cover what you should consider in general if you are considering making a similar move ... or if you are considering going from memberships to subscriptions.

What are the things that you should be mindful of?


Most publishers don't have a 'model' problem

Before we get to some of the finer details, it's important to remember that most publishers don't have a 'model' problem. What I mean is that, often, it doesn't really matter whether you are using a membership model or a subscription model, and sometimes the price isn't even the problem either.

Instead, the overall problem is 'being worth paying for'.

We have talked about this many times over the past years, but if we look at the percentage of people who say that they are willing to pay for news, in most countries the result is rather abysmal.

 
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I'm a company, can we pay via an invoice?

Yes, of course, please write to plus@baekdal.com and I will send you a regular invoice that you can pay via your bank. I will need your company name, address and VAT number (if within the EU). Also, please note that due to this process being manual, this will be for an annual subscription only.

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Yes, please write to plus@baekdal.com for details. But for 25-99 users: the price is 20% off the subscription price ($79/year per user), 100+ users is a fixed price at $5,000 (for all combined).

Can you create a report just for us?

Yes, please head over to Baekdal Media to read about consulting where I can help you with strategy reviews, trend and strategy reports, and strategic guidance for you media company or a specific publication.

 

 
 
 

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé

 

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