Is there room for Ultra Premium?


There’s been talk of lower priced memberships and per-article pricing, both of which are ways to potentially increase membership while still doing so profitably and without undercutting current subscribers.

But there is another way to grow the bottom line, and that is by offering even more expensive tiers. It certainly shouldn’t be the focus, but may be leaving money on the table by not at least offering a higher tier. If you look at Kickstarter, Patreon and other subscription-based sites there are often opportunities for people to contribute at a level above the baseline value proposition for different perks. I bet there are readers out there who would pay $100/year, or make a special one-time payment for something special.

Obviously this could devolve into farce (e.g. tandem bike ride with Paul; drop Brad in a dunk tank; have the guys leave you a happy birthday message), but I think the basic premise of giving people a chance to be super-contributors isn’t entirely untenable– especially when you’re talking about a niche audience that also likely contains some very passionate fans.

Comments (21)

21 responses to “Is there room for Ultra Premium?”

  1. anchovylover

    I would imagine a number of subscribers would abandon the site if this idea were implemented.

    The Premium option was promoted as just that, Premium. It was to have limited access to Paul and the team through comment sections and ask questions/we help podcasts. Also, let's not forget the reason many subscribe. The emotional payback of knowing you are doing right by supporting quality journalism plays a major role and cannot be underestimated.

    To introduce a higher subscription offering could only undermine the current value of Premium and would only harm the sites bottom line. Worse, many members would feel betrayed by Paul and the team thus breaking the unspoken bond between both parties. In short, I believe it to be a short sighted and harmful proposition.

  2. PincasX

    I admittedly have no clue what the financials of the site look like but it seems to me that the first step in getting more people to pay for content is to provide quality content worth paying for. That would make more sense than trying to gouge already paying customers for more money.

  3. Bats

    I propose new pricing tiers:

    1. FREE

    2. Home

    3. Home Premium

    4. Professional

    • Tim

      In reply to Bats:

      We'll have a launch party

    • jimchamplin

      In reply to Bats: NT Lan Manager 3.51 Professional for Enterprise Workstations

    • Rycott

      In reply to Bats:

      Your plan has merit but it's not confusing enough. You forgot a few tiers.

      5. Enterprise

      6. Professional for Workdays

      7. 365

      Then you could add in sub tiers.

      7a. 365 Home

      7b. 365 Premium

      7c. 365 Essentials

      7d. 365 ProPlus

      7e. 365 E1

      7f. 365 E3

      7g. 365 E5

      But why stop there. We could have tiers for students. Let's call them A1, A3 and A5.

      What about those poor government workers? G1, G3 and G5 plans for them.

      Who knows... we could even come up for some nonprofit organisation tiers as well as some for Firstline workers who are be going to reading while helping customers.

      I see it now. The future of were everyone gets what they need. If only they could figure out the differences. Because it is made it as obtuse as possible.

    • TheJoeFin

      In reply to Bats:

      There should be at least 3 enterprise versions and a for workstations

    • Paul Thurrott

      In reply to Bats:

      Love it. Also Thurrott Starter. :)

  4. hrlngrv

    On a tangent, are the passionate fans passionate about MSFT/technology or about Paul? How many of the latter would the other paying customers want to hang around with?

  5. TheJoeFin

    So I had an idea in this same category. On NPR you can buy ads which are read on air. I think it would be cool if Premium members who have their own business, or an app or website they wanted to promote could the buy short 10sec ads to be read on FRD? Only read one or two per show, but they would vary and would be coming from members of the community. Just a thought.

  6. Oasis w/Bing