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Crafting the Perfect Bundle: Options, strategic considerations and the tech capabilities you need

June 19, 2024
Posted by Jay Tocco

With publishing subscriptions and memberships continuing to vie with display advertising for the most lucrative revenue stream, creating appealing product and pricing bundles continues to be a significant focal point for subscription teams in 2024 and beyond.

The journey to an ideal bundle that drives acquisition, engagement and Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is often a difficult one to navigate so publishers must have the flexibility to test many different types of bundles to meet the varied needs of their subscriber base.

In this blog we take a look at current innovative new approaches to bundling, strategic considerations and the technology capabilities you must have in place to create, launch and measure bundling success.

Bundling is a top revenue stream for publishers in 2024.

Virtually every recent survey we looked at pointed to bundling as a top revenue generator for publishers.

This aligns with our findings from our INMA Media Subscriptions Summit workshop. When asked about the biggest new revenue drivers in the last 12 months, our 150+ attendees overwhelmingly cited Product Bundles.

MediaHuis panelist, Koen Meeusen, specifically mentioned their use of mega bundling, citing how they’ve packaged their 33 national and local titles into one bundle and allowed users to pay a certain amount to get access to all or a subset of content.

Let’s take a look at some of the popular bundle options.

Bundling options

Mega Bundles

The ‘mega bundle’ is an approach that we typically see in larger publishing organizations, with several cross-sellable titles being made available to the subscriber within one marketplace. Publishers give consumers the flexibility to bundle together products from across their portfolio to build a custom basket of content. The allure of mega bundles lies in their comprehensive and flexible nature, allowing publishing groups to drive otherwise challenging cross-sells and allowing consumers a broader choice of content.

Learn more: Monetizing the move from print, to pixels, to products – Aptitude Software

Digital Bundles

User-defined digital bundles give subscribers control by allowing them to pick and choose the most relevant and appealing products and services from the vendor’s full portfolio—effectively creating a highly personalized content experience. In the OTT space, we’re seeing a push towards the activation of industry partnerships to include a broader spectrum of video content, music streaming and gaming services, aiming to offer consumers unmatched value.

Aptitude publisher client Der Standard have been leading the way in the DACH market, with a transformation of all products in to bundled services planned across the next 3 years.

We spoke with Dominik Ebner, Director of B2C revenues at Der Standard who commented, “Our guiding principle centers on adopting a holistic perspective of the subscription lifecycle – from engagement and acquisition to customer retention – in order to not only attract new subscribers and supporters but also prolong their tenure and boost our average revenue per user.”

Clustered bundling and targeted strategies

Clustered bundling is emerging as a strategic approach. This method groups services or content based on specific themes or consumer interests, catering to niche markets and allowing consumers to select packages that closely resonate with their preferences. This targeted bundling further personalizes the subscription experience.

Pricing bundles

Price bundling (product bundling or product-bundle pricing) is a marketing strategy that combines two or more products to sell them at a lower price than if the same products were sold individually. This strategy entices customers by offering a perceived value increase and simplifies the buying process. It’s particularly useful for promoting complementary products or clearing out less popular ones. Businesses can create tiered bundles with varying features and price points to cater to different customer needs and budgets.

The ‘just for you’ bundle

As consumers become more selective, there’s an increasing need for publishers to give consumers full flexibility to curate their content or service mix precisely to their liking, albeit potentially at the cost of the convenience and cost-saving benefits traditionally associated with bundling. This fully individualized approach to delivering value to the customer still requires the ability on the part of the subscription platform to define, price, process payment and manage entitlements for the mix of products the customer selects.

From Aptitude publishing client Der Standard on the transformation of all products in to bundled services planned across the next 3 years:

 

“In Q4 2021 DER STANDARD established a joint B2C subscriptions team with comprehensive responsibility for its print and digital business. Our guiding principle centers on adopting a holistic perspective of the subscription lifecycle—from engagement and acquisition to customer retention—in order to not only attract new subscribers and supporters but also prolong their tenure and boost our average revenue per user. This transformation plan encompasses structures, products, and technology. Expanding and consolidating our product portfolio is the current focus.

 

We firmly believe that there is substantial room for growth. This requires us to add new digital subscription products to tap into the market potential. Simultaneously, we must secure existing print subscribers’ subscription relationships in a sustainable manner. This requires a stronger integration of print and digital offerings, resulting in a simplified subscription product portfolio geared towards providing readers with clear added value.  Our approach prioritizes subscriber relationships over individual products. We are convinced that by viewing product features not as standalone products but rather as elements of bundles is conducive to continuous expansion, testing and refinement.

 

Significant strides have already been taken towards realizing this streamlined portfolio. We have integrated print & ePaper subscriptions to grant our most valuable print subscribes access to digital features. By doing sowe aim to drive digital transformation, simplify our portfolio, and sustainably secure our most valuable subscribers’ loyalty. Furthermore, in October 2023, we unveiled DER STANDARD Smart, a new digital subscription product that builds upon our existing offerings while delivering additional exclusive content and features on our website.”

 

– Dominik Ebner, Director – B2C Subscription Revenues, DER STANDARD

Strategic considerations

As companies navigate these bundling trends and strive to give consumers maximum flexibility to access the content of their choice, there are several strategic considerations that come to the forefront.

  • Customer insights: How can companies quickly access data analytics to understand subscriber preferences and behaviors in order to craft personalized bundles?
  • Strategic partnerships: How can companies forge partnerships with various content providers to creating compelling, value-packed offerings, particularly for mega bundles?
  • Technological infrastructure: Is the tech stack able to support the complexity of managing diverse content types, entitlements and billing systems inherent in bundled offerings?
  • Regulatory compliance: Do bundling practices comply with relevant regulations and standards to mitigate legal and financial risks?
  • Flexibility and customization: Can companies accommodate customization within bundles to allow subscribers to tailor their packages to their specific needs and interests?

eSuite moves media companies forward

The Aptitude Subscription Management Platform, eSuite, enables our clients, like DER STANDARD, to configure bundles across all digital and physical formats, on a per-customer level. This flexibility ensures our clients have the tools available to transform their subscription business at the same speed that technology and audiences are moving.

eSuite, the subscription management platform of choice for innovative media organizations, offers features that are essential for managing these complex bundling strategies including:

  • Recurring and transactional models: Supports both recurring subscriptions and one-time transactions.
  • Product, bundling, and contract management: Allows for the easy creation and management of various bundle configurations.
  • Identity, subscriber, and order management: Provides a single view of the subscriber to streamline processes.
  • Pricing and tax management: Ensures accurate pricing and tax calculations.
  • Access control, entitlements, and fulfillments: Manages access to content and ensures entitlements are correctly fulfilled.
  • Payment processing and billing: Automates payment processing and billing cycles.
  • Promotions, vouchers, and trials: Facilitates promotional offers to drive acquisition.
  • Payment optimization and churn prevention: Helps reduce churn through payment optimization.
  • Revenue recognition and management: Ensures accurate revenue recognition and financial reporting.

Ready to transform your subscription management? Book a demo with one of our experts today.

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This blog post was written by:

Jay Tocco
Content Manager
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