Sustainable value in the knowledge economy

Whenever Mary Adams comments on Crossderry (thanks, Mary), I always make a point to work through my Google Reader inventory of her posts (here also).  She posted briefly (here) on Jay Deragon’s post (here) and comment thread — including some from McKinsey reps — wondering how valuable McKinsey’s “Premium” offering is.

I dropped the “Premium” subscription myself a few years ago, but I do return to mckinsey.quarterly.com pretty regularly.   However, I’ve seen certain articles that stand out — in the way that McKinsey consulting stands out — by being on point, detailed, yet well-written and digestible (unlike some of the academic work Jay refers to).  I know I’m missing something, but I’m not sure its worth $150/year.

In such cases, it would be nice to have the option to buy a single article (like HBR… hint, hint).  Not sure of the price point, but I could see myself making a $5-$10 “impulse” buy for the right piece.

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2 Responses

  1. Interesting point Paul- I saw a couple articles last week suggesting that newspapers should price content on a piecemeal basis (a few cents an article). And I know that Harvard Business School Press is starting to offer their books by the chapter. Could be something emerging here on access to content…

    • My take is that the piecework model will work well for higher-end publications — HBR, McKinsey, etc. — or opinion-focused publications. As you say, a newspaper article would be a few cents but not much more. Only AP and a few other industrial-strength news organizations will be able to scale to that price point. Besides, one of the problems w/ the current newspaper model is that so much news is AP or wire copy re-worked anyway.

      On the other hand, I can see a price point for high-end/opinion at $1+. Not expensive, but one or two orders of magnitude more than add up fast…

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