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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - March 2021

A guide to 'delayed subscription' models

One of the fascinating things about media today is that there are so many different models for us to choose from. In the past, you basically only had one model per format.

If you were a TV station, your model was to be part of a cable TV package, there was no other way to sell TV. If you were a magazine, you sold subscriptions on a monthly or weekly basis. And if you were a morning newspaper, well then your model was the same as every other morning newspaper ever made.

But look at the world today. Today we have so many different options to pick from. One newspaper might use a metered paywall, another a premium model, a third one a donation model, or an access model. I wrote an article about these models back in 2018 (although I need to update it).

However, several people in my media circle have asked about delayed subscription models. What the heck is that? How should I use it? What concerns do we need to be mindful of? Is it even any good?

Well, let's take a look at that.

Note: In this report, I will often use the phrase 'the article', but obviously, everything I write about below also applies to any other format like video, audio, podcast, service, etc.

What is a delayed subscription model?

A delayed subscription model is when you offer something for free for one period and then you make it available only for subscribers for another period. And it's the delay between when it's one thing or the other that makes it work.

That wasn't very clear, but that's because this isn't just one model, there are actually four different models for this. These are:

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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