Last Thursday Bloomberg announced the official relaunch of the 88-year-old Bloomberg Businessweek which includes a host of changes, redesigns, new digital products and, most notably, the shift to a two-tiered membership model. Bloomberg said the relaunch was developed to better meet the needs of its global business and finance audience by reaching out to them through multiple daily, weekly and quarterly touch points and its award-winning journalism from 2,700 journalists and analysts across 120 countries.
“Keeping Bloomberg Businessweek’s immersive, award-winning journalism at its heart, the brand is evolving with more global resources, multiplatform access, and a cleaner, easier to navigate design,” the announcement said. “With an elevated and more consistent design cross-platform, Businessweek’s premium journalism shines through.”
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Specific changes include:
- “Reimagined print magazines” with three editions: Asia, Europe and the Americas
- A new suite of digital products including a redesigned app with daily, regionally-focused content
- A redesigned Businessweek.com
- A revamped Bloomberg Businessweek app with 8 to 10 unique pieces of daily content
- A regionalized email newsletter
- Daily IQ, a daily email newsletter
- Digital access to Bloomberg Businessweek events
The relaunch also includes the launch of a metered paywall for Businessweek’s online content. Readers who are not members can access up to four stories for free each month. According to Digiday, after two stories, readers will be asked to register to access the site with their email address.
The two-tiered membership model will feature two options: (1) a Digital Only membership which gives access to the Daily IQ email newsletter, unlimited digital access to Businessweek.com content, and digital access to six to eight special issues of the magazine, including The Year Ahead and Global Tech; and (2) All Access membership which provides all of the benefits of the Digital Only membership, plus the weekly print magazine, the QuickTake print magazine for snapshots of important topics, quarterly conference calls with Bloomberg experts, the Bloomberg Business app, and digital access to Bloomberg events.
Both tiers are available at an introductory price of $12 for 12 weeks for new subscribers only. All access subscriptions auto-renew at $25 every two weeks until the end of the first year, and digital only subscriptions auto-renew at $15 every two weeks. Bloomberg does not specify the rate after the first year. Prior to renewal, however, Bloomberg will send a reminder notice with the “low renewal rate” in effect at that time.
“…we feel that we need to update and take the magazine forward to reflect the times that we’re in. We want to have it be more global, we want to respond to the tones that we’re facing, not just in America but across the world,” said editor Megan Murphy in a video announcement.
“We’ve taken a really rigorous look at how we present our content. We want the design to help the journalism shine through. You’re going to notice some new typography, you’re going to notice some new sections, you’re going to notice a beautiful back section at the end of the print book called Pursuits which is our luxury brand here which has been really successful at telling luxury stories – whether that’s food, whether that’s travel, whether that’s art, whether that’s fashion – in really compelling, narrative ways,” Murphy added.
“The new Bloomberg Businessweek is going to appeal to anyone who’s intellectually curious, who wants exposure to international stories, who wants to consume our content on various platforms, who travels, who wants exposure to the ideas, trends that are really shaping the global economy,” said Murphy.
Bloomberg Businessweek is not alone in its revamp in terms of content, design and business model. It is one of many publishers trying to create – or recreate – print and digital products that customers are willing to pay for and which help pay the bills. While we always appreciate when publishers take a good, hard look at their operations to provide subscriber-friendly products and services, there are a few elements that serve as good examples to other publishers considering similar strategies:
- Creating an attractive introductory offer. The introductory price is the same for both tiers, so subscribing to the all access tier makes more sense. You get more for the same price. This could help Businessweek increase conversion for the higher priced tier.
- Not specifying the renewal rate at the end of the first year. This gives Businessweek some wiggle room. After a year of testing and data gathering, the magazine will have a better idea what its value to readers is and how much it can charge.
- Requiring an email address to get more than two free articles. This allows Businessweek to collect minimal data, giving it the opportunity to reach out to registered readers to provide other offers.
- Being transparent. While we presume the announcement is part of its rollout/marketing strategy, it is a good one. Readers today want to know what’s going on – what’s changing, what isn’t, how much it will cost, what they’ll get for free and what they must pay for. Bloomberg did a good job of outlining all the changes.