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Spotlight on ‘Bundled Subscription Models’

Spotlight on ‘Bundled Subscription Models’

November 23, 2015 | Lucy Tozer

The final post of PageSuite’s Subscription Series focuses on bundled subscriptions, whereby users have access to both digital and print publications through a single payment each month or year.

The bundled subscription model is a popular choice for publishers wanting to protect and maintain their print circulation. By including both print and digital options within the subscription, publishers are able to distribute print content at a lower cost and can also increase their digital sales. Publishers such as Dennis Publishing have reported growth amongst both print and digital sales since introducing bundles. For their publication, ‘The Week’, Dennis introduced a series of different subscription options with the core intention that digital content should be paid for. Although digital-only subscriptions were initially the most popular, the biggest growth came from bundling print and digital together. The strategy behind the growth was to increase the price of digital-only subscriptions, but make the difference between print and bundle costs moderately small. It therefore works so that the inclusion of the digital edition within the bundle costs a mere 20p extra per week![1] Several of our clients including Archant, DC Thomson and the British Film Institute also utilise the bundled subscription model.

In utilising the bundled subscription method, publishers are able to circumnavigate app stores that take 30% net of any digital sales

Bundled subscriptions are also advantageous for consumers. The flexibility of bundled subscriptions is suited to readers on the move. Nowadays, people are more mobile which means that they may not always have access to their print publication. They now have the capability to view the digital edition across multiple devices instead. Tim Blott at the Herald and Times said “The flexibility of our print-digital combination subscription packages suits readers who like the option of scrolling through our mobile site while adding comments through their own social media channels, or relaxing with our SundayLife magazine over the weekend.”[2]

This model is a useful tool for generating revenue and increasing circulation for both print and digital but in order to maximise success, publishers need to ensure that they price their subscription models strategically. Bundling also makes sense for a consumer who feels they have paid once for a product and are able to consume content regardless of which platform they use.

For further insight into the various available subscription models, watch out for our upcoming Subscriptions White Paper available on our Resources section soon!


[1] http://www.dovetailservices.com/guides/case-study-the-week-making-digital-bundles-pay/

[2] http://www.scotns.org.uk/herald-times-grows-circulation-hits-record-online-subscriptions-in-september/