Double Subscription Revenue With an All-Access Offer

How to use web editions, collections and libraries to double your subscription revenue 

Double Subscription Revenue With an All-Access Offer

Are you still selling your magazine on one platform? Sure, print magazines smell good and even look good on a coffee table, but the most successful subscription and membership marketers we know are leveraging more than paper to increase profits. To increase subscription revenue, you will have to follow suit.

What are they doing exactly? They’re adding a web magazine, back issues and special collections to their magazine offers and are creating an all-access membership that includes both print and web. This allows them to price the web magazine and the all access-membership at higher price points than their print editions, causing a significant increase in their average price per order.

They also experience lifts in conversion rates due to the overwhelming value proposition that is created by a web magazine library and special collections. Having collections of archival and curated content, which is often valued at hundreds or thousands of dollars, creates a perfect direct marketing offer that generates more orders at a higher price per order. Factor in conversions and renewals over a five-year period and subscription revenue doubles while profits soar.

Below is a case study showing how a single-platform publisher could increase subscription revenue over five years by switching from selling print-only subscriptions online to selling a multiplatform all-access program.


The legacy offer is print-only:
  • They sell 100,000 print subscriptions per year online with an introductory $12 offer, yielding an average of $12 per order.
The multiplatform offer adds web and all access:
  • They offer print-only for $12, web edition and library for $15, or all-access (both print and web) for $18.
  • Online sales are now 50% higher thanks to the value of the web library, bringing them 150,000 orders.
  • 20% of orders are for print-only, 20% are for web-only and 60% are for all-access, generating a yield of $16.20 per order.
The subscription revenue results of testing print against all-access:
With the legacy offer, total sales rise to $3,915,450 by year five. This assumes a 45% conversion rate and a 65% renewal rate.

Keeping the conversion and renewal rates the same, the multiplatform offer total sales are $7,612,192 by year five, and subscription revenue has nearly doubled.

What’s driving the doubling of subscription revenue?

Unleashing the power of a magazine archive allows a publisher to increase the number of all-access premium memberships sold online, and increasing subscription revenue with a significantly higher price. For a publisher already generating a substantial print-only order volume, the math is incredibly compelling.

And while the above analysis does not assume any change in the overall marketing efforts beyond the change in offer and the availability of the new web edition, library and collections, in reality we’d be initiating a high-frequency Six Sigma marketing program. This program would be anchored by the digital collections and could produce another 50,000 to 100,000 orders annually depending on the size of the existing database, website traffic levels and email capture rates.

Do you agree with this method of increasing subscription revenue? Why or why not?


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