Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Do you trust the news, or do you trust your news? In the U.S., there’s a huge gap between the two
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Sept. 9, 2014, 1:56 p.m.
Business Models
LINK: new.dowjones.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Justin Ellis   |   September 9, 2014

The Wall Street Journal wants readers to know that being a subscriber has its perks. The Journal rolled out WSJ+ this week, a complimentary membership program for readers who have subscriptions to the paper.

What, exactly, does being a WSJ+ member get you beyond a sweet membership card to display on your digital device of choice? From the Journal’s news release:

WSJ+ members will receive special offers and be welcomed to invitation-only events designed to bring Journal content to life, while providing subscribers elevated Journal experiences specially curated to speak to their wide-ranging and ambitious interests. Events will take place across the country and will include panel discussions with top Journal editors, as well as arts performances and private film screenings.

As a WSJ+ member you could get a talk and tour of the Journal newsroom (“learn how our famous stipples are made,” the event advertises) with Editor in Chief Gerald Baker or see a conversation between Whoopi Goldberg and legendary TV producer Norman Lear.

Many of the offers through WSJ+ are either discounts or raffles seemingly attuned to the needs of the aspirational Journal reader. Tell the “Golf Concierge” you’d like a discount to play at course in Hilton Head Island, or win two tickets to the Longines Los Angeles Masters equestrian event.

The Journal is one of a growing number of media companies that wants to deepen the relationship with readers through membership programs. Both nonprofit and for-profit companies are trying to find programs to incentivize paid readership while also collecting more detailed data on their audience. One difference is that some loyalty programs, like WSJ+, are complimentary with a subscription. Others, like The Guardian’s membership plan and The New York Times’ Times Premier, are extra, which means a potential added source of revenue.

The characteristics of the programs usually fall into similar categories: special access to events, discounts, and invitations to look behind the curtain of your beloved news provider. Wine and free books seem to be a love shared by media executives and newspaper readers.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 35,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Do you trust the news, or do you trust your news? In the U.S., there’s a huge gap between the two
Plus: A bill to outlaw fake news in the Philippines, and the question of whether real news outlets should cover fake news.
Vox’s healthcare newsletter (with ads sold out) is filling a role beyond “articles on the Internet”
“I’m keeping in mind that there are actually people reading these stories who are relying on us for information.”
News apps are making a comeback. More young Americans are paying for news. 2017 is weird.
The Reuters Institute’s annual report on digital news contains some surprises.