Mar 31, 2003
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From a press release I received at 4:38 A.M. on Saturday, "Salonalso announced that it surpassed 60,000 active Premium subscribers this week and continues to enjoy an annual renewal rate of 72%."
Which is about where I expected them to be. Patrick Hurley over there just confirmed to me that these are all Premium people paying for access to content vs. folks paying for online communities such as The Well that Salon also owns (in the past these numbers were sometimes combined in releases). He adds, "Our first quarter has been far and away our best ever. We actually queued the press release up a few weeks ago and since then have actually added a few thousand more subscribers so that we've actually eclipsed 62,000 active paying subscribers."
This fits in with a general trend I'm noticing in sub sites. There seem to be four tiers in terms of size, each roughly a tenth the size of the next one up:
1. Biggies: Half a million to two million and growing. Low cost, mainly B2C. I have the feeling these will even out at 1-3 million.
2. Mid-sized: 40-75,000. They are roughly 1/10th the size of the biggies. I get the feeling they will stabilize around 100,000.
About same price as biggies, but slightly more niche in topic, or offer much more free content so it's hard to convince people to pay.
3. Niche or entrepreneurial: 4,000-5,000. Again, about 1/10th the size of the next tier above them. Often run by very small companies.
4. Tiny but profitable: 400-500. That 1/10th rule again. Tend to be higher-priced B2B sites. I'm counting subs not seats (seats could be many more).