Bundling vs unbundling: new report analyses effectiveness of publisher subscription models
A new report published by subscription platform Zephr breaks down the current options available to publishers in implementing successful subscription streams. With a focus on the effectiveness of various bundled vs unbundled options, the report also examines the need for content offerings to evolve alongside the everchanging needs of subscribers.
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The industry shift towards direct-to-consumer revenues has been much talked-about in recent months, not least at FIPP’s own Direct to Consumer Summit (D2C), which was launched last month.
Particularly at a time when the cookie is about to crumble and many media owners are turning to the power of first-party data, it is becoming more critical than ever before to monetise content through subscriptions.
However, in a separate recent study conducted in partnership with Digiday, Zephr found that 40 per cent of publishers still fail to include adaptive, customised digital offerings, while nearly a quarter do not have digital subscription products at all. This latest report draws together industrywide research on the D2C sector, and provides practical approaches to the implementation of different kinds of subscriptions services.
Some of the ways that publishers can provide personalised content choices to their audience are analysed in the report:
- Access based on topic
- Access based on author
- Access based on timing or frequency
- Content access paired with other brands
- Based on digital medium
- Paired with consumer brands
Of course, while the debate – and measurement – around bundled vs unbundled content offerings is for many media owners only just beginning, there are merits to both approaches, which the study examines in further detail:
‘Even with all the benefits of unbundling digital news products, subscription bundles can still be a smart choice for publishers. At the end of 2020, almost 70 per cent of US consumers said they would “prefer to bundle their subscriptions if they could choose which ones to include,” according to joint research by e-commerce site, PYMNTS.com, and subscriptions management platform, Vindicia.’
‘If publishers are going to bundle content, the key is to ensure subscribers have dynamic access to different choices over the subscriber lifetime. As with approaches to unbundling, these strategies should not be viewed as static, one-size-fits-all solutions for all time and content; yet structured strategically, bundling can boost bottom lines and build publisher brands in various ways.’