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B2B subscription business model

Diversifying news media business models

B2B subscriptions represent the latest foray by news media companies as they diversify their reader revenue business models. “B2B has huge uncovered potential,” Siri Holstad Johannessen, head of sales and marketing at Norwegian publishing house Schibsted, says in a report by the International News Media Association (INMA).

The Growing Promise of B2B in Media’s Reader Revenue Model” looks at the differences in consumer vs. B2B subscription strategies.

“Selling to a consumer is about persuasion, which is not how you approach a business,” says INMA Researcher-in-Residence Greg Piechota. “You need to educate them about the product and what value it offers. You may need to be sort of an advisor, teaching them the best ways to use it.”

Positioning the subscription as an employee benefit — like a gym membership or insurance — can be a successful model, the report says.

Paula Felps, Ideas Blog editor at INMA and lead author on the report, talked to B2B leads at Financial Times, Insider, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Schibsted and Nikkei in Japan.

Among the report’s takeaways:

  • B2B subscription campaigns must be created to factor in the way businesses buy, which is vastly different from consumer purchases.
  • Engagement-based pricing structures can be successful.
  • The sales funnel for B2B customers differs dramatically from the business-to-consumer (B2C) funnel, so publishers must develop strategies for each one.
  • Partnerships with the right companies can yield a win for the company, the publisher, and the reader — if structured properly.
  • Tailoring subscriptions to the needs of the individual organisation is an effective way to encourage engagement and renewals.
  • Using existing core strengths, whether they are for a local or international audience, can be a successful starting point.
  • Positioning the subscription as an employee benefit — like a gym membership or insurance — can be a successful model.
  • Webinars directed toward the business community is another way to attract new customers.

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