Stop-Loss Order

A regional publisher is building back its critical subscriber base after an extensive period of declining numbers. Initially, the publisher’s parent company wrote off the loss, believing that overall consumer interest in the publication was simply waning. However, after noticing an alarming drop in subscriptions during one measurement period, management realized that something more significant was going on. What was it – and how could they reverse the trend quickly?

The Beta Approach

Time was of the essence. The publisher’s parent company was preparing to make a significant business decision about the publication’s future within a matter of days. The publication’s direct management needed information that clearly identified the problem and pointed to a reasonable solution. With only a weekend to provide this to our client, Beta developed and conducted a flash telephone study. Our sample included ongoing subscribers, as well as people who had cancelled after both long and short term subscriptions. We found the principal issue was a straightforward problem with a straightforward fix.


Beta’s telephone survey revealed that subscribers’ biggest complaint had nothing to do with lack of interest in the publication. In fact, both current and cancelled subscribers remained interested in what the publication had to offer, if only they could get it. A glitch in the publisher’s distribution chain was the main cause of all the problems. Beta was able to pinpoint this and arm management with critical information in time for a Monday morning meeting. Subscriptions have evened out, and the publication continues.

Industry: Media

Methodology: Phone survey