Crain's Chicago Business in June rolled out a metered subscription model for its ChicagoBusiness.com website. Under the new system, users are able to view up to 12 articles each month before they are asked to pay $59 for an annual subscription, according to CCB. (CCB is published by Crain Communications Inc., which also publishes Digital Directions.) A combined print and digital subscription costs $99. Brian Reilly, director of digital strategy at CCB, spoke with Digital Directions about the brand's approach to a metered model.
Digital Directions: What was the impetus for moving to a metered model and how do you think it's going to impact CCB's overall circulation, both print and digital?
Brian Reilly: We had a couple of goals. We wanted to synch up our print and our digital subscription efforts. So one of the things we're doing with this project is allowing our print subscribers to upgrade to a digital subscription for free for a limited period of time. What that'll help us do is to upgrade those readers to a combo package, which is a higher price point, and will also help us sync our renewal marketing efforts.
In addition to the 12-page view meter that will trigger a subscription request, we now are asking people to register—or log in if they're already registered—after three article views in a month. Since we launched on June 14, we've seen an increase in registration of about 250% compared with the previous year. Part of the registration process is asking people to opt in to receive some of our newsletters; those numbers have greatly increased (and that) helps us justify rate increases down the road and makes us a stronger product for advertisers.
DD: As part of the...