If you're into boats, horses, planes or pets you've probably read a Belvoir Media Group
newsletter. With thirty titles and two million readers, you might even be a subscriber to Practical Sailor
, Aviation Consumer
, or Whole Dog Journal
Belvoir started taking its ad-free newsletters online six years ago, allowing subscribers to access back issues. But in a move that surprised us, they still charge even paying customers wanting to download product and gear reviews.
"If you're buying a $200,000 boat, you'll pay $7.50 for a boat review, Greg King, Belvoir's SVP Circulation, told ContentBiz. Same with canned dog food reviews.
Belvoir charges non-subscribers for other content as well (only a snippet summary can be viewed on the site before the paid wall redirect appears). Even so, no one's biting (and we're not talking about the dog food).
"We discovered pretty quickly that people will only pay for our evergreen content," King explained. General back articles, interviews or news don't go anywhere.
Of Belvoir's thirty pubs, only eight focus on product reviews. The numbers are small so far: just about 2500 downloads per month at $7.50 each. "This is definitely ancillary income," King said.
But it's also easy income. Belvoir uses the same basic template for each of its titles, provided by vendor IProduction.com
which has set up its 300 primarily newsletter customers for usually under $10K a title plus a monthly maintenance fee.
At these prices, when Belvoir expands to a hoped for 12 online titles next year, it should be mostly gravy on the dog food reviews that are making up a small but healthy side dish. And it's a savings over the way Belvoir did business before when consumers ordered a product review, they'd receive the whole issue by postal mail.
As King puts it: "it aint huge, but it's money.