GlobalPost Adjusts Its Membership Model

GlobalPost, the international news startup which has tried to establish “elite paid memberships” as a significant revenue stream — with only limited success — is trying to turn that around by changing the structure of its so-called Passport Service. GlobalPost, which currently charges Passport members $49.95 a year for access to exclusive content, as well as contact with its correspondents, tells us it is cutting that price to $29.95 a year, or alternatively, $2.95 a month, effective Aug. 12. GlobalPost is using Journalism Online’s Press+ to power its new payment system, making it one of the first sites to do so.

CEO Philip Balboni tells Poynter’s Bill Mitchell, who first reported the change, that GlobalPost had attracted less than 500 paying members at the previous rate, even after cutting the membership price significantly from the $100-plus it had initially charged.

Balboni tells Mitchell he’s now hoping to get about 9,000 people, or about one percent of the site’s unique monthly visitors, to pay up, thanks to the lower price, additional perks for members, and a much more in-your-face pitch to join (Once a user has visited a certain number of pages on GlobalPost, Journalism Online’s Press+ system will invite them to become members).

For now, Balboni says that despite its lack of subscribers, GlobalPost is having a “strong year financially.” In a note to readers last month, Balboni said the company was “particularly pleased by the growth in advertising revenue” and that “the syndication of our content to other media entities in the United States and around the world also continues to grow.” GlobalPost’s syndication partners include CBS (NYSE: CBS) and PBS.