Nine months ago, Atlantic Media’s National Journal Group took the bold step of converting the politics and policy publisher’s individual subscription model to one based on membership in hopes of growing revenue and loyalty. The offering was unusual in a few ways. Annual fees would go as high as $25,000 for access to various publications and services, but they would be negotiable—and Atlantic Media owner David Bradley even offered to pick up the tab for members if they were having a bad financial year.
Now, the National Journal reports having signed up 600 members out of 1,500 the company identified as prospectives, putting it well on the way to growing membership revenue 20 percent this year over 2011, group president Andy Sareyan said.
“We’ve already hit the goal for the year in terms of membership revenue,” Sareyan said. “We’re killing it.”
The group said its members include nearly half the Fortune 100 list and include companies, nonprofits, lobbyists and trade associations.
National Journal’s membership model was just the latest shot in the intensifying battle for the Beltway market, with global players now fighting for share. Along with National Journal, Bloomberg LP, Politico and the Economist Group have launched new or bulked-up existing subscription services.
With all this competition from global players at its heels, National Journal has made individualization and customization its point of distinction. “We’re really able to tailor what we do to the feedback we hear,” Sareyan said.