Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Washington Post Gains 10m Members

By offering free digital access to subscribers to other newspapers, The Washington Post just picked up 10m members. Paywalls change the business model of newspapers from subscribing readers to adding members. When Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post he purchased $175 million in membership. Having the credit card number of each digital reader (i.e., member) is of great value.

Nieman Journalism Lab and others wrote about The Washington Post offering free digital access to other newspapers. There is no such thing as a free lunch. So what does The Post gain by offering free digital access to local newspapers around the United States? Members in Texas, Honolulu, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. According to The Financial Times, 10m members. This expands the audience for offers to members with credit cards on file. Steve Hills, president of The Washington Post suggested that it could be expanded to “any company that sells premium subscriptions.” This is the new membership business model.
As a membership business, The Post will next follow the lead of associations, loyalty programs, unions and others. These organization make substantial money from the “member benefit” offerings. There is a whole industry that sells to these organizations and I’m certain they are calling on newspapers everyday. Expect to see The Post offer more than just a wine club. Credit cards, travel deals, insurance and more. And add staff to support this. “It pays to read The Post."

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