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June 15, 2017, 11:17 a.m.
Business Models

Bloomberg Businessweek has a big new interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook — and it would really like you to pay to read it. Businessweek launched a two-tiered metered paywall (and a resdesigned site, app, and weekly print magazine) Thursday. There’s also “a new regionalized email newsletter,” Daily IQ, only for subscribers.

Here are the paywall details from Bloomberg’s announcement post:

Bloomberg Businessweek is shifting to a two-tiered membership model: Digital Only, which includes access to the app, Daily IQ, unlimited access to Businessweek content online, and 6-8 special print issues a year; and All Access, which grants all digital benefits plus the weekly print magazine, quarterly conference calls, and live-streams of key events. A metered paywall is now in effect for Businessweek content online and readers without membership will have access to four free stories per month.

The digital-only access costs $12 for the first 12 weeks, and $15 per 12 weeks thereafter (so, $65 a year). The full package is $12 for the first 12 weeks and $25 per 12 weeks thereafter, about $108 a year.

Businessweek appears to be taking pages from the playbook of some digital outlets. The Information also offers conference calls and exclusive events to its subscribers, who pay $399 a year, and also focuses on affluent professionals who can pay (there are student rates as well). Axios wants to reach a similar audience and is thinking about a subscription tier as high as $10,000, though it’s entirely free for now. The difference between The Information/Axios and Bloomberg is that Businessweek is also saddled/blessed with a print publication.

The Financial Times reports:

The new pricing is a substantial increase from the average $40 per year that Businessweek charges for the print magazine. [Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith] said the aim was to position the title at “the premium end of the market.” As a result, the magazine has cut its rate base — circulation promised to advertisers — from 1m in January to 600,000, phasing out bulk subscriptions and what Mr. Smith called “the lowest value subscribers.”

“We’ve tried to focus on smart, clever people who have more money than time on their hands,” John Micklethwait, Bloomberg editor-in-chief, told the FT. (Micklethwait used be at The Economist, which could have made a similar value proposition.) “We know that from the terminal, from what Bloomberg has achieved, [the goal] is to find people who are willing to pay money to get very high-quality information and journalism. That’s what we’re trying to replicate.”

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