• August 11, 2022

CEO Ross Levinsohn Institutes a Higher-Level Paywall at Sports Illustrated

Ross Levinsohn Traditionally, print magazines like Sports Illustrated and others have based their monetization models around two key components. These are print subscriptions and ads. However, this model design has been disrupted by the rising dominance of the internet. As has been the case at other premium print publications, Sports Illustrated saw subscription and ad numbers drop as consumers shifted their attention to digital content. The brand initially jumped into action by developing a website and drawing income from the website with a thoughtful monetization plan. Nonetheless, Sports Illustrated CEO Ross Levinsohn soon realized that the initial plan was insufficient to counter the loss in print revenue.

This critical situation required a bold response, and Ross Levinsohn was the perfect professional for the job. His work history has spanned 40 years, and his resume is loaded with prestigious job titles. In fact, a few of his top executive roles have been with innovative companies like Guggenheim Digital Media, Maven Media, Fox, CBS Sportsline, Yahoo! and Whisper Advisors. Some of these experiences have notably prepared him to confront the issue at Sports Illustrated successfully. One example developed while he was leading Maven Media as its CEO. This is a service provider for hundreds of digital media brands, including The Street with Jim Cramer. One of its specialties is facilitating the development of monetization plans. As a Wall Street-focused brand, The Street with Jim Cramer did not initially provide consumers with cryptocurrency content. However, Levinsohn saw that consumer interest in this topic was growing, and he decided to reposition the brand’s monetizing strategy to take advantage of this change. Through the establishment of a cryptocurrency paywall, The Street with Jim Cramer now offers its customers the information they are interested in.

Once he accepted the position of Sports Illustrated CEO more than six years ago, Ross Levinsohn was able to extract valuable insights from his previous work. He found inspiration in the paywall concept for The Street with Jim Cramer and through many of his other professional experiences. The solution that he moved forward with involved the development of a special paywall for premium digital memberships. A premium membership grants consumers the ability to tap into early release stories before general members can do so. Because so many other brands have struggled with a similar issue, it is not surprising that Levinsohn’s plan has been an inspiration to them.