A Mixed Bundling Pricing Model for News Websites

Abstract: This paper outlines a method for finding revenue maximizing mixed bundling prices for news websites. This can help better understand paid content strategies for online news content. Drawing on work in the field of bundling information goods, I apply a two-parameter model of consumer preferences to web site traffic data and a roughly estimated willingness-to-pay curve. We can then calculate revenues for different price points and find the optimal one for any given site. This method is applied to a sample of ten sites. At revenue maximizing prices, the majority of paid revenue for these sites comes from the sale of individual articles, rather than subscriptions. Site traffic showing highly loyal consumers is found to correlate with higher subscription prices. This model suggests that while it is possible for overall revenue to be higher with a paid content plan, total traffic will certainly fall.

It can be found online here in PDF form.

I’m mostly happy with the way it turned out, though there were a lot of compromises and broad assumptions needed to bring it to a finished product. There’s so much interesting material in this field, I wish I could spend a few more years studying it. I guess that’s what graduate school would be, if I ever decide to attend.

Special thanks go out to Aleks Jakulin for supporting and encouraging me in this work.