Harvard Business Review

How Harvard Business Review Thinks It Can Add Subscribers While Getting More Expensive
July 2, 2015

Harvard Business Review is trying to walk a fine line: The magazine thinks it can raise the price for a subscription and still attract close to 100,000 new subscribers.

"Basic economics says you lower prices and get more customers; you raise prices you get fewer," Harvard Business Review Group publisher Joshua Macht told me. "And our board members point this out to me. But there's this defying gravity idea, and the reason why I think it's possible...is for the last five years, at least, we've been in this conversation with subscribers."

Harvard Business Review’s Data Journey, Explained
May 15, 2015

Sarah McConville, vice president of marketing at Harvard Business Review (HBR) Group and publisher of Harvard Business Review Press spoke to Jon Watkins about how data and analytics are driving the evolution of the HBR brand.

At HBR you talk about your evolution from highly respected 'academic' publisher to modern media brand. What role have data and analytics played in helping you make that journey? 

They're absolutely core. Looking specifically at subscribers and product purchasers, data and analytics have been integral to our goal of lowering the cost of acquisition while increasing retention.

In Defense of Your Fancy New Homepage: Why Packaging Content Is Still Valuable
May 12, 2015

A trip to San Francisco always gives me a boost of energy, especially when it comes upon the snow-covered heels of a long winter in Boston. So I was particularly excited to visit Facebook last month.

Ok, I'll admit that I felt a bit out of place cruising around their campus on a periwinkle blue, step-in bike while the sun baked my dark blue blazer. To me, it felt more like a theme park from the 1950s than a workplace for the new millennium. Take me to the big rides.


Google to Launch $150M Partnership With Publishers
April 28, 2015

In a move meant to blunt escalating European Union action against Google's marketplace dominance, Google will tomorrow announce a $150 million partnership, to be spent over three years, in support of something called the Digital News Initiative (DNI), I've learned through several confidential sources.

At the Financial Times FT Digital Media 2015 conference, Google president EMEA and strategic relationships Carlo D'Asaro Biondo is scheduled to kick off and keynote the program, which will be followed by a Google press release and a well-placed op-ed column.

Press Release: Harvard Business Review Selects CDS Global for Print Magazine Processing & HBR.org Content Access
March 5, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa & BOSTON - March 3, 2015 - Harvard Business Review and CDS Global announced today a partnership to support the magazine's print and digital content offerings worldwide. CDS Global, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst Corp., will provide full-service order management, fulfillment, customer service, mailing services and business intelligence for Harvard Business Review's print magazine, as well as access management to online content and archives on HBR.org.

Don’t Try to Be a Publisher and a Platform at the Same Time
January 20, 2015

In the wake of digital disruption, new media companies are seeking scale and legitimacy, while old media companies explore new business models.

The "platform" is a new media company model that has been perfected by the tech industry. Platforms can easily scale to serve gigantic audiences, and their lucrative possibilities beckon to established players that are often called "publishers." Meanwhile, many publishers have solid brand identities that are alluring to platforms. So publishers and platforms are experimenting with new combinations - but is it really possible to combine a publisher with a platform

Lots of Insurgencies at the Ellies, But Two Stalwarts Hold On
January 19, 2015

Historically, New York magazine and The New Yorker tend to be among the biggest heavyweights at the annual glossy back-patting bonanza that is the National Magazine Awards.

So it should surprise no one that they are leading the pack of this year's finalists, announced Thursday afternoon, with 10 and six nominations respectively, including in the categories for general excellence (the latter) and magazine of the year (the former).

More notable and more interesting, perhaps, are the newcomers and first-time nominees who've managed to crash the gates of the magazine world's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize.

Deception? Price Gouging? Subscription Scam? Top Magazine Titles Won’t Say a Thing
November 24, 2014

In mid-October, I wrote about the New York Times offer to refund overpayments to customers who fell for an unauthorized third-party renewal solicitation. The Times also warned subscribers in print and via e-mail not to fall for the scam. I noted that the same company had been blanketing magazine subscribers with these notices for years before broadening to newspapers as well in 2013 and 2014. I couldn't immediately get a comment from magazines. Three inquiries later, spokespersons for top publishers Time Inc. and Conde Nast are still stonewalling me.

How Rising Paywalls Are Paying Off for Publishers
December 13, 2013

Not long ago, Bloomberg Businessweek declared 2014 the "Year of the Paywall" for the news industry. Sure enough, everywhere you look in publishing these days, you see news organizations ranging from Politico (and its Capital New York offshoot) to the new tech-oriented website the Information experimenting with online-subscription models. "I would not start a media company today based on advertising alone," Politico Chief Executive Officer Jim VandeHei told me recently. "I think it would be crazy."

This week, the Online Publishers Association, an industry trade organization, released a  study (PDF) that highlights the various ways newspapers and magazines are using paywalls to shape and expand their businesses.