Harvard Business Review Unlocks Its Paywall in Exchange for Email Addresses
Harvard Business Review is loosening its paywall this summer in an interesting move to attract new audiences and capture email addresses. For the months of July and August, non-subscribers can access all of HBR's content by first registering with their email. The move expands HBR's existing practice of letting non-subscribers view 15 free pieces of content a month if they register, as opposed to only five pieces of content for non-registered non-subscribers.
The registration function does a few things for HBR, according to a recent article by Nieman Lab. It allows the publisher to better target these users in order to convert them to paid subscribers and it enables HBR to collect data on how different types of audiences use the site. "For example, HBR has discovered that subscribers are the most likely cohort to go to the HBR homepage and use the site's search function," writes Joseph Lichterman of Nieman Lab. Understanding how non-subscribers use HBR will allow the business publisher to improve their user experience and funnel them more effectively toward subscription.
— Harvard Biz Review (@HarvardBiz) July 8, 2015
Ultimately, the move seems to play into another recent announcement by HBR -- its lofty goal of raising circulation by nearly 100,000 this fiscal year to 350,000 while raising the cost of subscription. Undoubtedly the publisher has several new product releases and promotions in mind to entice non-subscribers to cash in. A recent example is HBR's Visual Library, which launched in June. The Library archives HBR charts, slideshows, and other graphics and is accessible only through subscription. It will be interesting to see what other content packages and services the publisher releases as it strives to convert these prospects.
Publishing Executive has reached out to Harvard Business Review for comment and will update this article upon the publisher's response.