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The 2024 State of the Media Report

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Subscription Management Tools: 5 Popular Options for Digital Publishers

In the rapidly changing world of digital publishing, an ever-evolving landscape of tools promises to keep publishers on their toes. A newcomer to a long line of audience acquisition aids is subscription management tools, many of which offer enhanced services such as AI-powered dynamic paywalls, AB testing, and audience analysis.  

Many major publishers, such as New York Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Reuters have already jumped on board this trend, so we scoured the web and rounded up our top five players in the subscription management space today. 

1. Pelcro

Founded in Toronto in 2016 by a former advertising executive and a marketing major at McGill University, Pelcro was quickly selected to join a university-funded incubator in 2017. From there, the company grew quickly and was quick to attract top-tier media clientele with its core dynamic paywall offering.  

Since then, Pelcro has expanded into a suite of other industries besides media, including wellness, subscription boxes, e-learning, and SaaS. The company has also added several other products to its portfolio that allow customers to authenticate their subscribers and track their user journeys within their platforms.  

Major clients include Macleans, Ricardi Media, and Education Week. 

Pelcro’s product suite includes:  

  • Authentication 
  • Billing & E-commerce 
  • Pro. Authorization & Paywall 
  • Lists & Fulfillments 
  • Reports 
  • Integrations 
  • Import Tool 
  • APIs & Webhooks 
  • Apple Pay & Google Pay 
  • Unbranded Interface 
  • Group Licenses (IP & Domain) 
  • Tax Management 
  • Accounting Reports 
  • Launchpad Process 
  • Professional Services 
  • Machine Learning 
  • Customer Service 

Price: $$ 

2. Poool

Also in 2016, on the other side of the world, Poool was making its debut in the French market. Following several investments, Poool entered the market with its first product, the dynamic paywall Poool Access. 

Poool’s product suite allows publishers to retain, monetize, and track their customers. Poool specializes in presenting subscription choices to readers in a wide variety of ways to better understand what drives users to pay. Furthermore, Poool’s solution integrates with most publishers’ CRM and data analytics tools for easy integration into their workflow.  

Major clients include La Tribune, Prisma Media, and L’Opinion.  

Poool’s product suite includes:  

  • Poool’s native engagement and contextual segmentation 
  • Ability to leverage custom engagement and context segmentation 
  • A/B Testing, Basic connectors (webhooks) 
  • Third-party analytics connectors 
  • Core user widgets 
  • Dynamic scenarios 
  • Dynamic messaging 
  • Core design editor 
  • Access to statistics 
  • Data history and exports 
  • Customer reader ID 
  • Access to our public API 
  • Custom CSS design 
  • Code-free design editor 
  • Advanced third-party connectors 
  • Triggers 
  • Cookie Wall with alternative 

Price: $$$  

3. Sophi

Who could understand the plight of the publishing industry better than a media publisher itself? That was the mentality that led Canada’s The Globe and Mail to create Sophi. Sophi is an AI-powered suite of tools to help publishers automate, monetize, and measure their content pipelines. While Sophi has expanded into the retail space, its roots remain with media publishers and broadcasters.  

Its core offering remains its automation and predictive paywall solution for online publishers which aims to identify which stories are most likely to drive readers to subscribe.  

Major customers of Sophi include Reuters, Global News, and Advance Local.  

Sophi’s product suite includes:  

  • Sophi for Paywalls  
  • Sophi Automation 
  • Sophi for First Party Data  
  • Sophi Site Automation  
  • Sophi Registration Wall  
  • Sophi Predictive Decisioning Engine  

Price: Unknown  

4. Zephr  

Zephr (recently acquired by Zuora) is a London-based “subscription-experience” management platform that brands itself as an effective tool for optimizing and personalizing the conversion experience for users. After spending many years building customized technology solutions for large brands, Zephr’s founders turned their attention to the biggest challenges faced by subscription businesses: higher acquisition costs, difficulty collecting data responsibly from users, and the ever-present risk of churn.  

Zephr’s unique strength lies in its plug-and-play model, sporting partnerships with over two-dozen industry-leading digital tools (including a handful from this list, like Sophi and MPP Global Solutions). Zephr also partners with CRMs such as HubSpot, billing software such as Stripe, and marketing automation features offered through Salesforce.  

Major clients of Zephr include the New York Post, Tribune Publishing, and News Corp.

In addition to its partner strategy, Zephr’s suite of products includes:  

  • Intelligent Paywall 
  • Identity & Access Management 
  • First-Party Data Strategy 
  • User Specific Personalization 
  • Corporate Subscription Management 

Price: Unknown  

5. MPP Global Solutions  

MPP Global Solutions (recently acquired by Amptitude) is the veteran on this list. The company was founded in 2000 with a focus on mobile solutions and eventually found its way into billing software in the year 2004. It wasn’t until 2009 when CRM and identity management were added to its product portfolio and the company eventually found its way to subscription management services in 2015.  

With its long and storied history, MPP Global Solutions' eSuite offers a true enterprise platform for publishers looking for a one-stop solution for end-to-end subscription management. 

The company also boasts a robust partner program, which includes Zephr, Sophi, and household names such as Microsoft Azure.  

Major clients of MPP Global Solutions include NBC Universal, Sky News, and The Daily Mail. 

MPP Global Solutions’ eSuite includes:  

  • Intelligence and Decisioning  
  • Acquistion and Conversion  
  • Identity and CRM  
  • Revenue and Billing  
  • Retention and Recovery  
  • Analytics and Reporting  

Price: Unknown