Tiered pricing – an equitable approach for ensuring journal program revenues

Online access to journals continues to grow significantly, and many presses have seen an associated decline in full-priced print subscriptions, and therefore their revenues.

In situations such as these, tiered pricing can be of great benefit, particularly for publishers with a small- to medium-sized journals program and a diverse customer base. Adjusting your subscription prices in line with each customer’s size and academic profile can help arrest this decline, and in fact result in a more even field for institutions of different sizes and academic remits – scaling prices based on institution size and scope means that a small technical college would pay less than an Ivy League institution with a large research program, while ensuring access to the same high-quality content for their community of readers.

Initially, introducing a tiered pricing model can seem daunting: there’s a great deal of analysis that needs to be done. However, TBI has considerable experience in the area, and can help with each step of the process:

  • Auditing your existing customer base
  • Customer data analysis and cleaning
  • Revenue modelling and forecasting
  • Communicating pricing changes to your customers

You can read our case study of one such project in Learned Publishing for a snapshot of how the process is managed, and the positive impact it can have on journal programs. We’ve recently worked with Liverpool University Press on a similar project:

“Liverpool University Press implemented a tiered pricing structure in response to the increased demand from our customers for online access and to ensure as many types of institution as possible – with a variety of sizes, budgets and specialties – were given the opportunity to access the research we publish.

TBI conducted an impressively in-depth analysis of our customer data and using a variety of detailed criteria, assigned each customer a tier, ranging from 1-5.

Overall our tiered pricing structure has been positively received – it is widely understood to be a fair and inclusive system.”
– Jennie Collinson, Head of Sales, Liverpool University Press


If you’d like to talk to us about how tiered pricing could benefit your organization, you can contact us at +44 (0) 1865 875 896 or via email at info@tbicommunications.com.