Stross writes, “Consumer Reports started its Web site in 1997; by 2001, it had 557,000 subscribers. That number has grown to 3.3 million this year, an increase of nearly 500 percent in 10 years. It has more than six times as many digital subscribers as The Wall Street Journal, the leader among newspapers.
“And in August, Consumer Reports started generating more revenue from digital subscriptions than from print — a feat that must make it the envy of the print world struggling to make that transition. Even more amazingly, Consumer Reports has enjoyed success on the Web without losing print subscribers — those have held steady since 2001 at around four million.
“Subscribers who sign up for access to the Web site pay $26 for a year or $5.95 monthly. A smartphone app is available, and this month an iPad version was introduced, with varying price levels.
“‘Five years ago, the Web site was just the magazine put online, word for word,’ says Kevin McKean, Consumer Reports’ editorial director. Formerly, products were tested in batches, but today testing occurs whenever a new model is released. Results are quickly available online, instead of being held up for the once-a-year roundup of reviews of a particular product category in the magazine.”
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