B2B news site Mobile Industry Review has had enough of the suffocating ad market. Having struggled to generate ad revenue as marketing budgets contract, the site is re-launching with a completely different business model as a private research firm for the mobile industry. As the site’s owner Ewan McLeod (pictured) wrote yesterday, the site will go subscription-only from April with subscriptions costing an eyebrow-raising £12,000 a year, per company, though the first 10 are half price.
That sounds astronomical compared to the site’s current free model, but it’s not an unusual figure for your average specialised research firm and several big name operators have been in touch expressing interest in the service, leaving McLeod “surprised by the response”. The site has not been bought — McLeod remains the owner — but one company has bought the rights to its entire content. In an interview with paidContent:UK, McLeod wouldn’t say who the company was, saying its identity could jeapordise future deals, but did add that “it might not be the traditional” sort of partner we might expect. More after the jump…
– New model: McLeod founded the site in 2006 and is “disappointed” that the ad-funded model couldn’t work; he was “constantly frustrated” that his plans for expansion were halted by a lack of ad revenue. Now, its content will be beamed straight to company intranets or via emails and will feature more industry analysis and video. McLeod has for a long time wanted to publish more video, especially in UK regions often overlooked by the industry press, but has “not had the resources to do it properly”, often putting in his own money or relying on unpaid contributors.
– Ad revenue shortage: While he wasn’t thinking about going subscription-only a month ago, McLeod is clear that the free model was struggling: “It’s a big objective to deliver the service with no way of monetising it,” he says. And when readers and clients would suggest the company should get sponsorship from Nokia (NYSE: NOK) or Samsung, McLeod replies: “They don’t understand that a big brand spends that on a marketing company and they want to know about click per thousand. It’s frustrating.”