ESPN The Magazine To Charge For Online Access

Subscribers valuable to marketers

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ESPN The Magazine has begun charging for access to its online content.

The magazine announced on its website that its online version, ESPNTheMag.com was merging with the ESPN Insider service, which is available for $6.95 a month, or $39.95 a year for premium sports content.

"As of Friday June 5, ESPNTheMag.com ceased to exist as we know it, but the site’s signature pieces and voice continue to live on the Insider page," the magazine site says. Print subscribers can still access magazine articles on the Insider for free.

Gary Hoenig
Gary Hoenig

ESPN Publishing general manager Gary Hoenig toldBusiness Week that it is a strategy that other publishers should consider. "Why is it, in this business, we are apologetic when asking [consumers] to pay for what we give them online?" he asks. "It’s not like people in the milk business who think ‘we should give it away for free-we can make money on the cartons.’"

The Insider currently has 350,000 paying subscribers, according to executives familiar with the numbers, and its parent site ESPN.com is still free online.

Hoenig says that the main part of the strategy is to cut the 2.1 million-circulation magazine’s reliance on ads. He also says that a subscribing customer is more valuable to marketers than those who jump from site to site.

"There is too much content" for advertisers to monetize, he says. "But there is an audience that is staying here and going to stay engaged."


ESPN The Magazine To Charge For Online Access
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  • http://blogtoread.com/ Chris Phone

    Interesting that the online service is more than the magazine itself. If customers really are that valuable to advertisers, whey would ESPN shoot itself in the foot this way?

  • http://www.pjam3.com PJAM

    This is a great idea except for most of it stinks. There is a reason people have started going elsewhere besides the traditional publishers and media. Most of the ‘subscription’ models are a waste of money. And no I don’t pay to get into the local grocery store before I can even buy the milk. Most consumers already have to pay for a computer and internet access just to get online, then they have to pay for mostly non interesting stories on sites like ESPN?

    In the long run many of these traditional media companies will just go out of business. I understand the need to charge for things. But when half the ‘journalists’ are nothing more than hacks who should be blogging for free, don’t claim you need to do it for business. Do we really need most of these writers who provide nothing new but sensationalized opinions? No we don’t. Not anymore. A journalist who actually breaks news stories is one thing. Hacks like Bill Simmons should just be blogging for free.

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