The following is a message from The Mack Report managing editor Mike McMahon on the site’s new VIP feature, which will be unveiled this week …
This week, you’ll begin to notice that some of our content here at The Mack Report will be labeled as VIP exclusive. This is a decision that I’ve struggled with for a while. Our VIP membership is a new subscription service at a very low price, in an effort to help cover the costs associated with running this site.
The Mack Report was born in 2006 after I took a position with The Eagle Tribune covering Merrimack College. There was more to cover than what space allowed for in the paper, so the site started as a blog to simply give out more information. It’s grown to what it is today, a standalone source for news and analysis. As the site has grown, so has my writing career. I left The Eagle Tribune’s staff in 2012 and have been freelancing for several outlets since then.
There is considerable cost to running this site. There are monthly hosting fees and during the hockey season, considerable travel costs. There’s also some features we use on the site — such as the live blog platform — that requires monthly subscriptions. I breakdown all of the expenses for the site for tax purposes, and if you include travel, maintenance, design, features and hosting, the cost to run this space runs into the thousands of dollars per year, and that doesn’t include a second of the time that’s put into it.
The advertising on the site helps, but it doesn’t cover everything. In fact, last year the ads on the site covered just 18% of our expenses.
It today’s world of online content, most major publishers are asking for subscribers for their content. The Boston Globe, The New York Times and even my former employer, The Eagle Tribune, just to name a few.
Our new VIP service does NOT mean that the site is going to a total subscription service. Our VIP access is going to be more similar to ESPN’s “Insider” access. Here’s the basic breakdown:
All of the news on the site will remain free. All non-hockey related coverage will also remain free, at least for now. There is the potential for non-hockey VIP items down the road, especially if Merrimack’s jump to Division 1 happens and we’re able to add to our staff, covering other individual sports more closely.
VIP exclusive content will include hockey-related articles, such as features, interviews, columns, analysis and other non-news related content, such as recruit updates during the season and alumni updates. As this new feature is unveiled throughout the hockey season, we expect to add more VIP content that doesn’t currently exist on the site. There will be more analysis, more features. The news will remain free, but at least weekly (and perhaps more than that) we’ll most columns that give some opinion and background on the news. As a VIP member you’ll have full access to all of our interviews in transcript form, as well as audio features. If the subscriber count is enough, I hope to update the live blog platform we use for in-game updates and use a company that has great software, but it’s also quite costly.
Basically, this is being put in place to help cover our costs. The VIP membership is priced to be less per month that you probably spend going out to lunch. You can receive one full calendar year of VIP access for just $4.99/month ($59.88 per year), or, you have the option to purchase your VIP membership on a monthly basis at $6.99/month. There will also be the option to purchase individual VIP articles for $0.75 each, but that option is going to be geared more towards readers and fans of Merrimack opponents for a particular weekend, that just want coverage applicable to their team. For Merrimack readers, the subscriptions will be the best option.
We’ve priced the subscriptions to be about the equivalent of a coffee and bagel at Dunkin Donuts. We hope our content is worth at least that much! Although some may say coffee is invaluable …
There will be more VIP content announced moving forward, as well. We’ll be using a service called “CoinTent” to handle our subscriptions.
In a following next post, there will be a link to sign up for Mack Report VIP subscriptions. In the future, you can sign up by using the link in any of our VIP posts.
Our VIP articles will be available on the main page, and for easy access, there will also be a tab at the top of the main menu listed VIP, which if clicked will bring you to a list of all our VIP content in chronological order.
This is going to be our tenth season in existence, which is amazing to me. The readership level has grown to a point I never expected it to. This new feature to our site I hope will expand what we already do here. Over the last two seasons, I have been happy with the news we have provided, but really thought we lacked in some other departments, such as analysis and commentary. When I’ve asked readers their opinion, they’ve expressed the same sentiments. I hope to put a nominal value on that content in an effort to help cover the cost of operating the site.
For the last nine seasons, I can’t thank you enough for reading. And I hope you join us as VIP members to support our work here!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me directly using the “Contact” link on the main menu.