Membership: GlobalPost, Press+ April Test Worth Watching
With the Times and MediaNews moving on metering as their “paid content” choices, less attention has been paid to “membership.” That’s the NPR-like notion of leaving everything free, but offering that smaller percentage (10-15%) of readers who really value one news brand’s content the ability to support it voluntarily, sans pay wall. MinnPost probably leads the way locally here, with more than 1700 members. On a national scale, look to the new experiment soon to be tested by GlobalPost — the international news start-up — and Journalism Online. GlobalPost, a for-profit company, has assembled some 500 members, but CEO Phil Balboni believes pricing and implementation issues have held back growth on this vital revenue stream, which together with syndication he hopes will provide half of the company’s revenue over time.
In April, GlobalPost looks like it will be the first to test JO’s Press+ system for membership, with Balboni pointing to these strengths: “The Press+ technology provides the very important missing link in our membership strategy – the ability to easily identify our most frequent and loyal users in real time as they are visiting GlobalPost, deliver and test membership solicitation messages directly to them, and finally to offer an elegant, easy-to-use means of subscribing to Passport, all without leaving the GlobalPost site environment”. ID, tracking, offers and then full circle. It’s about finding enough readers at the right price points, another variation of the FT propensity modeling idea. Good test of the JO plan with good content. This is one to watch.