5 Subscription Lessons to Learn from the Amazon Prime & WaPo Partnership

Amazon and The Washington Post, both owned by billionaire Jeff Bezos, are partnering to offer Amazon Prime members free digital access to The Washington Post.

5 Subscription Lessons to Learn from the Amazon Prime & WaPo Partnership

According to Talking New Media, interested Amazon Prime members will get free digital access to The Washington Post’s website and apps on Kindle, iOS and Android for six months. After that, Prime members can subscribe at a discounted monthly rate of $3.99 per month. A full-price, national digital edition of the Washington Post is $99 per year.Amazon has already started promotional emails to its Prime members announcing the deal. The online retail giant already has credit cards on file for its Prime members, so it is easy for members to sign up – and for Amazon to offer additional value at no additional cost.This is the most notable joint venture between the two Bezos-owned companies with the goal of growing WaPo’s digital audience. Currently, Amazon Prime boasts about 40 million members, so the potential – even with a low conversion rate – is huge.The Daily Orange interviewed Steve Davis, the chair of the newspaper and online journalism department at Syracuse University, about the news:

“It’s a way for a news organization to try to get people to get accustomed to paying for the news again,” Davis said. “If you look at what they’re doing, it’s smart. They’re packaging it as part of the Prime membership. And it says it’s free – (but only) for six months … It’s what we have to do. We have to get people to pay for the news. It’s a commodity, and it has value. And I think we’re slowly heading that way, and this is really clever way to do that.”

Yesterday the American Press Institute released research that is consistent with Davis’ thoughts. A study conducted by the Media Insight Project shows 40% of Millennials personally pay for news products or services out of their own pockets. In addition, Millennials over age 21 are twice as likely as those 18-21 to personally pay for news.Insider Take:We are seeing more subscription companies like Amazon find creative ways to partner with other organizations to offer their subscribers and members added value, creating a synergy that neither can achieve alone. These practices will soon become the norm rather than the exception. Lessons other companies can glean from this opportunity:

  1. Leverage existing relationships to get in front of new audiences with complementary products and services.
  2. Offer additional value to subscribers and members at no charge or at a discounted rate.
  3. Give members exclusive deals and pricing they can’t get elsewhere.
  4. Increase the value of your membership or subscription over time so your products and services become so ingrained in your customers’ lives that it would be difficult to do without them (e.g., Netflix, Dropbox, Office 365, etc.).
  5. Figure out what types of content your target market wants – Millennials, in many cases – and develop a product mix that they are willing to pay for.


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