Paywalls: How to start your Subscription Strategy


Paywalls: How to start your Subscription Strategy

15th Jul 2019

'Paywalls: How to start your subscription strategy' is a comprehensive report about how media companies can start a subscription monetisation strategy. Focussed on the international publishing industry, the report is an in depth analysis of how to build lasting and profitable relationships with readers.

FIPP's insight report, Paywalls - How to start your subscription strategy, in partnership with London-based media consultancy Blaize, highlights the growing opportunity for magazines to build personal relationships with readers and offers practical advice on how to monetise from it. The report argues that magazine media can learn a lot from the news media’s successful ventures into paywall strategies but emphasises that magazine media face unique challenges of their own that need to be countered with a wide variety of strategies and tactics. 

Report author, Martha Williams, CEO of the US based consultancy Data & AI for Media, explains how magazines can transform their business from a transactional, advertising-focussed industry to a relationship-focussed industry. She starts off by first explaining in granular detail what the relationship economy consists of and then illustrate how the audience relationship funnel should function - from targeting audiences, all the way to delighting and engaging lifetime customers. 

Williams also unpacks the ‘relationship strategy’, by referencing several excellent examples of successful consumer-focussed revenue tactics, including Meredith Corporation, Hearst Magazines and The Economist. She warns that any pivot to paywall strategy demands a company-wide mindset transformation, which is data-driven and utilises fresh talent to achieve overall transformation.

Senior product development director at Atlanta-based business consultancy Mather Economics, Arvid Tchizhel, continues the insight report by listing six practical best practice tips that should be applied before magazines launch a subscription product. The report also explains in detail the different types of paywalls and how they function. 

A much stronger position

According to FIPP President and CEO, James Hewes, the new report is by far the most comprehensive insight report on how publishers should approach paywall strategies. He says while magazines have learnt a lot from newspapers and their approach to paywalls, it is encouraging to see from the report that magazines are in a much stronger position to be thoughtful, deliberate and successful in their digital subscription strategy.

Hewes also points out that one of the most valuable parts of the report is the list of successful digital subscription case studies. “Publishers serious about launching a subscriptions strategy should look no further than these examples to learn from those who have already broken the barriers,” says Hewes.