Intermarket Group's Content Matrix tracking service has recently looked at paid content services in an effort to track characteristics of the services. An analysis of more than 340 subscription properties/services covered by Intermarket revealed several characteristics among current paid content offerings. Intermarket reports:
--Eighty-one percent of the properties/services tracked continue to offer at least some free content on their Web sites and 61% publish one or more free email newsletters. Few publishers are placing all of their content behind the subscription barrier.
--Business-oriented properties/services are the most expensive with a median subscription price of $22.45 per month, followed by financial news/information and health-related information. Content categories with the lowest pricing include entertainment ($6.95 per month median price), sports ($5.95), and weather ($4.95).
--Less than one-half (35%) of the properties/services tracked offer free trial subscriptions. Publishers targeting mixed audiences (both consumers and business users) are the most likely to offer free trials while B-to-C publishers are least likely. Among those properties/services that do offer free trials, the most common length is two weeks.
--One-third (32%) of the properties/services tracked supplement their subscription revenues with single-purchase digital/downloadable content sales, 49% syndicate or license some portion of their digital content, 43% sell related merchandise on their Web sites and 72% include advertising in at least some areas of their Web sites.
--The number of publishers who offer subscription content for wireless devices is increasing, but less than one-in-five support them at present. Fifteen percent of the B-to-B properties/services tracked currently offer content specifically for PDAs or other wireless devices and only 9% of consumer-oriented properties/services offer similarly formatted content.
The Content Matrix tracks more than 340 subscription-based online content properties/services from almost 160 B-to-C and B-to-B publishers, including Ancestry.com, Premiere Radio Networks, RealNetworks, Sportsline.com, WeightWatchers, and Yahoo!. The Matrix is delivered in a Microsoft Excel format enabling users to analyze trends in pricing, free trials, free content, and user registration requirements. Information is also provided on subscription deliverables, including video and audio content; delivery of content by Web, email and for wireless devices; availability of archives; frequency of publication or updating; and sources of revenue. A companion presentation provides 30+ pages of charts summarizing top-level data from the Matrix itself.