Paid Content Success Factors (part one of three)

By  Recuro
Oct 4th 2019
Read time: 
3 minutes
Table of contents

Regardless of whether you have a digital subscription or paid content business today or want to build a new one, there are a number of areas that are important to consider. In a series of three articles, we list a total of six areas that, in our experience, require extra focus, along with a number of success factors in each area. If you as a leader spend the right time and focus in these areas, you can create long-term growth in your subscription business.

In this first part, we take a closer look at the first area: Vision and focus, and in the coming articles we’ll cover Offer and packaging, Sales and conversion, Optimized experience, Data-driven workflow and Flexible organization.

Vision and Focus

To get your paid content efforts off the ground, you will need focus from the entire organization and all relevant departments. This, in turn, requires an explicit vision and strong leadership from top management. Building digital subscriptions successfully is in many ways different from other business models, as it often needs to involve more skills and more departments to get it right. Everyone needs to be on board to make it work.

In practice, almost all media properties today have at least two business models simultaneously. Most often digital ads and digital subscriptions, but also event activities, affiliate businesses and more. Having multiple streams of revenue is a good thing, but can also lead to split-focus. In some cases, paid content can be seen as a competitor to digital advertising, a criticism that is sometimes justified. Because of this focus is even more important, as it is sometimes required to sub-optimize another business models to grow digital subscriptions. Strong leadership and a long-term perspective are key here.

It is important to start by thinking about what you are trying to achieve with your digital subscriptions. The answer to this question affects your entire strategy for building and growing the subscription business. From a strategic perspective, there are basically three main options to go for: Volume, Revenue or Profitability. In the long run, every company wants to build profitability, but it is important to understand how to get there.

To understand the strategy going forward, one should look at the market and your own business. Consider the classic diagram for product life cycles and product maturity, a good guidance for your strategy. Here are three examples of how to think:

  • If you are in a situation where several players are trying to take shares in the same market, it may be worth focusing on Volume.
  • If you feel that you have comparative advantages in the market, you can focus on increasing revenue by raising prices.
  • If a product is considered to be at the end of its life cycle, then it may be worth looking at price increases and cost reductions, which in turn should drive profitability.

Success Factors

  • Create a long-term vision and clear plan for digital subscriptions – understand your purpose
  • Set and communicate clearly quantified goals that everyone understands
  • Create the right focus and conditions in the organization to succeed – put your foot down

In the next two parts of this series, we will take a closer look at five additional areas: Offer and packaging, Sales and conversion, Optimized experience, Data-driven workflow and Flexible organization. Here is the full article series:


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