Here is a guide to the new online subscription model to be launched this year.
Covers of Russia Direct reports. Photo: Russia Direct
Later this year, Russia Direct will start charging readers of its reports, asking those who are registered to pay an annual fee or to buy single issues.
Currently, Russia Direct offers free website content and monthly analytical reports on various topics, as well as a weekly email newsletter with a selection of the best stories on Russia from its own website and from around the Web.
Launched in June 2013 by a small group of journalists, Russia Direct has quickly become an important source for experts, senior decision-makers, academics and other readers who have a professional interest in Russia and U.S.-Russia relations.
The website has also become a platform for those who seek deeper understanding of Russian policies and Moscow’s relations with the world.
In February 2015, Russia Direct exceeded the one-million-views threshold and has more than 110,000 readers and 6,300 registered users in the U.S. and worldwide every month.
Russia Direct is currently financed by Russian daily newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, which is also known for its international print publication Russia Beyond The Headlines. These three companies are editorially independent.
With the increasing effects of the financial crisis in Russia, media publications are getting harder to subsidize. Therefore, charging for content is a logical step.
The Editor-in-Chief of Russia Direct, Ekaterina Zabrovskaya, points out that, “A sustainable financial future ensures that the editorial team will keep producing balanced analytical stories on topics untold in American media.”
Here is also what Russia Direct Editor-in-Chief Ekaterina Zabrovskaya (pictured) has to say about the new subscription service. Photo: Russia Direct
"Keeping the dialogue between the United States and Russia going is a challenging but an important task today. On our website, we hope to create a community of foreign policy experts, business people and decision makers with interest in Russia."
The subscription model will be rolled out in phases.
The Russia Direct website will remain free. But later this year, readers will be asked to purchase an annual subscription to Russia Direct analytical reports or to buy a single issue.
For $39.99 a year, users will receive unlimited access to 2 years’ worth of analytical reports under the “Publications” (currently “Archive”) section of the website.
Readers can go 100 percent digital or, in addition to the e-format, opt-in for a print copy of quarterly editions of reports, which come with a complimentary copy of Foreign Policy magazine.
The home-delivery offer is available for U.S.-based annual subscribers only.
For $4.99 users can buy a single issue of a report in digital-only format on a topic of interest.
Also read this FAQ to learn more about the Russia Direct paid subscription model launching this summer. Photo: Russia DIrect
Current subscribers to Russia Direct’s reports will be offered a special price for the premium package that includes access to all of RD’s reports on all platforms. This makes it easier to see material on mobile devices while you commute.
Those readers who agree to become paid subscribers right now will enjoy a special “early bird” rate with a “bill me later” option.
Your credit card information is not required at this time. Please, go to this webpage to opt in and take advantage of these benefits.
During the second phase later this summer, Russia Direct plans to introduce a discount for access to all of its digital products for students, educators and school administrators when logged in via an official email address.
Corporate users will be able to get an unlimited access pass at a discounted price when accessing Russia Direct from work.
The publication’s publisher, Olga Ivanova, says: “Russia Direct has been very careful in identifying which content to put behind the online subscription model and what to charge users for. The team will listen to readers’ feedback and modify the prices accordingly.”
Charging for content has become an industry standard. Ivanova says that, based on other publications’ experience, “We realize that introducing the subscription model will lead to a decline in readers of Russia Direct’s core product, the analytical reports.”
"However, we are confident that our reports, with diverse insight from both inside and outside of Russia as well as expert analysis of Russia’s relations with the world, will be in demand considering current transformations in this region and in foreign affairs in general.”
Read more on this issue in the Q&A.
If you wish to support Russia Direct, you can become an early subscriber or advertise. If you have any further questions about the online subscription model, please, email firstname.lastname@example.org.