The 2020 Mega Trend: Premium Membership Programs for Publishers

Three premium membership programs that are aiming to double and triple company revenues in the next five years

premium membership programs

You would have to be living under a rock in 2020 to have not noticed that premium membership programs for publishers are all the rage. After flirting with all forms of digital advertising, magazine, newsletter, and website publishers have concluded that consumers will pay for premium content.

Earlier this year, we learned that niche publishers saw a 79% increase in subscriptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and from the looks of it, people will be continuing to consume content more from home for the foreseeable future.

It is the outcome of a perfect storm. Amazon taught consumers to use credit cards, Apple got people to buy digital music and movies, and along with Netflix convinced them that paying for premium content was a good idea. Then the election cycle and our current president made it clear that there was news … and there was fake news. This has been extrapolated to high-quality content that is accurate and reliable, while other forms of content can be downright dangerous.

Moving into 2021, we are 100% focused on helping legacy publishers launch premium membership programs that leverage their brand, their content, and their customer relationships.

Here’s a quick look at a few of the membership programs that we’ve launched:

Recipe Lion Cooking Club leverages one of the country’s best known online cooking brands with premium instructional content that is well prepared and inspirational. Subscribers to the Recipe Lion Cooking Club get the chance to learn from an internationally trained chef, Addie Gundry. Upon logging in, subscribers get dozens of step-by-step cooking classes led by Chef Addie. Professionally tested recipes are available to print for each cooking class, as are special collections around popular topics, tips, and tricks, taught by Chef Addie.

Financial Freedom Federation was founded to help anybody who wants the peace-of-mind to live comfortably now and in retirement by achieving financial freedom. Entirely a member-supported organization—Financial Freedom Federation doesn’t accept money from advertisers, brokers, investment advisors, or the government. Their club members, who are called Gold Members, get full access to premium content that includes the monthly Financial Freedom Magazine and libraryPremium Reports, and Investor Briefings. And behind Financial Freedom Federation is Cabot Heritage Corporation, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected independently owned financial advisory services, serving millions of individual investors and investing professionals in 141 countries.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club is dedicated to the almanac enthusiast who wants more than a print copy of the annual icon. Subscribers to this premium membership program get what they want most: the printed collectible edition of The Old Farmer’s 2021 Almanac. But they also receive a bundle of print extras, like the 2021 Gardening Wall Calendar, copies of the 1821 and 1921 editions, and The Old Farmer’s Almanac EXTRA! —a treasure trove of digital updates and Almanac content not found in the printed edition, including audio and video multimedia content.

As a 15+ year veteran of the publishing industry, I’ve learned that consumer revenue is more predictable and more compatible with the goals of most successful publishing organizations. Our content producers revel in producing high-quality accurate content that is completely aligned with reader needs. Suffice to say, that advertising revenue has no such alignment.

If more consumer revenue is what you’re looking for in 2021 and beyond, consider the above examples and how they might be inspirational for your organization in producing one or more premium membership programs that are dedicated to consumer needs.

To chat with me or a member of our executive team about how we might partner with you to launch a new premium membership program, schedule a time to talk.


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