With Golf Digest, Conde Nast tees up first of several consumer marketing efforts

Condé Nast said it would launch multiple consumer revenue projects this year to diversify its revenue streams. Its first swing at one, Golf Digest All Access, which launched April 2, offers more than 200 instructional videos, live and interactive coaching clinics, plus a print subscription to Golf Digest, for $9.99 per month or $100 per year.

All Access was two years in the making and fits Condé Nast’s overall strategy for pursuing consumer revenue, where each title is responsible for growing this business, be it through paywalls like The New Yorker’s and Wired’s, content or commerce. In typical Condé Nast fashion, the corporate office is mostly hands-off, though centralized digital strategy, consumer marketing and product development teams all pitch in.

“The ideas will come out of the brands,” chief digital officer Fred Santarpia said. “The folks that are living and breathing the brand every day almost always have the best ideas of what’s going to resonate.”

Chris Reynolds, Golf Digest’s digital gm, said All Access was shaped by the fact that instructional content attracts the most engaged readers. Seventy percent of the site’s audience reads at least some instructional content, but the most engaged audience members would look at it four to five times every month.

Some of that content is free to visitors. But last year, Golf Digest began selling instructional video courses a la carte for $10 apiece. The first course, “12 Days to Better Golf,” was released in April 2017. Since then, Golf Digest has developed almost 60 classes, and it’s sold individual courses to 10,000 customers. Reynolds said Golf Digest is raising the price of individual classes, eventually to $24.99.

Golf Digest priced All Access lower than the courses to encourage people to subscribe, which drives recurring revenue. The low price point was meant to make it easy for people to subscribe and for Golf Digest to later add on and charge for other services, such as exclusive photos or tee times.

Golf Digest also opted for a subscription model based on a 2017 survey of amateur golfers that found that 75 percent of respondents said they did not have a favorite golf instruction subscription; the company with the highest share, Revolution Golf, had just 5 percent of the market.

Santarpia said whatever progress All Access makes will be shared across Condé Nast titles.

“We’re going to be tracking what the conversion rate is against those loyal users,” Santarpia said. “We’re going to try and superserve them, and white-glove it. It’s not about broadening it out to a mass product.”


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