I spend a fair chunk of my working week analysing the differing strategies of media owners as they address the paid content dilemma, and this is brought into sharper focus this week as PRWeek, and the wider Brand Republic Group, announces plans to introduce digital subscriptions.
From early July those who access more than three news stories a month on prweek.com/uk will be asked to register their details. Thereafter, they will enjoy access to a further five articles each month before being asked to pay a subscription.
Members of the CIPR will continue to enjoy free access to all of PRWeek's online content, as will print subscribers until their annual renewal is due.
The strategy is to deliver PRWeek's content to readers in the form that they prefer. So readers will still be able to buy a magazine-only subscription.
Or, for the same price - £155 + VAT - readers will be able to buy an online-only subscription that will also give them access to the whole of the Brand Republic Group (Brand Republic.com, MarketingMagazine.co.uk, Campaignlive.co.uk, etc).
And for just £199 + VAT, readers will be able to buy 'premium access' - one weekly print title plus total online access.
PRWeek's role in the Brand Republic Group's portfolio of content is significant, as the various marketing disciplines converge in this age of integration.
The area of social media, for example, is one illuminated by the experience of advertisers, digital marketers and PR professionals alike. In this sense Brand Republic Group will provide a BBC-style network of content for all comms professionals.
This move follows months of deliberation, research and business planning - and feels momentous to us. But, objectively, it is common sense. For many years we have been giving away online the same content that our subscribers enjoy in print. This, despite the fact that we employ more than a dozen journalists on PRWeek and more than 60 across the wider Brand Republic Group.
We know our readers value the news, analysis and reports that PRWeek provides, so we need to address the anomalies and raise more revenue from our increasingly digital output. The result will be more investment in PRWeek's unique journalism and insight.
For more than 25 years PRWeek has been the accepted bible of the British PR industry. To develop this further in the digital age, the business model is changing for the better.