Print & Digital Subscription Newsletter #2 – Beyond the Magazine

Subscriptions are for more than just magazines.

When I was young… here we go, a trip down memory lane… subscriptions were for magazines and then later cable television. Maybe there was other items available as subscriptions in the 1970’s, but these were the only 2 things I cared about. I guess if I am going to do a newsletter on Print and Digital Subscriptions, we need to define what is a print or digital subscription.

Subscription – any product or service that can be sold or given away on a metered basis. 

We are keeping this definition very broad. The item(s) in a subscription can be anything. If you can think of it, you can freight-17666_1280package it in a subscription. The trick is the second part of our definition, “metered”. How can we package our item to be delivered in increments over time.

Packaging digital content as a subscription has become part of our every day life. We are paying for all you can watch streaming TV, through Netflix, Hulu, CBS, HBO, etc. Some of us are converting our print subscriptions to magazines to a digital version that still follows the traditional issue-by-issue model. I find myself reading Wired mostly on my iPad these days.  Others chose to read digital books and magazines through all you can read models. Overall, digital content has become very easy to package. You don’t need much technical skills to add a paywall to your blog and meter out your latest posts.

All the talk is digital, but I find what is going on with physical product in the last couple years very interesting. I have been a customer of Dollar Shave Club for about 2 years, Every month I get a pack of razors in the mail for a lot less than what I was paying for my old razors. There have been a crop of food related subscriptions that have popped up in the last couple of years that range from snacks to entire meals. Also, if you need to increase your “geek cred” check out Loot Crate. From Loot Crates’s web site, “Each month, Loot Crate™ ships a themed mystery box of the best geek, gaming, and pop culture gear to a subscriber base of over 100,000 Looters”. I worked on a project with them almost a year ago for a client and was overwhelmed by the response from their “Looters”.

If you want to read more on the movement of physical products being packaged as a subscription, check out the recent article in Fast Company on Birchbox. They package popular beauty products into a monthly subscription model.

So, what have we learned? Subscriptions can be any physical or digital product. You just have to figure out how to “meter” it out over time to your subscribers.

If you missed it, read the first issue of the Print and Digital Subscription Newsletter.


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