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Sports Illustrated CEO Levinsohn Blasts the Brand to New Heights with a Premium Paywall

Ross Levinsohn Sports Illustrated is a print publication brand that has stood at the head of the pack throughout most of its 70-year history. It has progressively evolved across industry changes that have taken place across this span of time while also maintaining quality sports content for its readers. One of the most notable changes that the industry has passed through is the introduction and rise of the internet. As more consumers became enraptured with digital content, many of them canceled print subscriptions in exchange for readily-available online news stories, interviews and more.

Sports Illustrated initially created a well-designed, properly-monetized website. This website was well-trafficked and produced a new line of revenue for the brand. However, as time progressed, the loss of print revenue grew to exceed the income that the website was producing. When Ross Levinsohn assumed responsibility for this problem in 2016 by becoming the Sports Illustrated CEO, he quickly produced an effective plan to address the situation. With prior executive-level positions at companies like Yahoo!, CBS Sportsline, Guggenheim and others, he had a deep knowledge that the situation required.

Before moving into the Sports Illustrated CEO position, Levinsohn was Maven Media’s CEO. In this important position, Levinsohn managed monetization efforts for more than 300 of the media industry’s top-rated brands. He innovated bold improvements for many of these brands when opportunities were presented. One of these opportunities was with The Street with Jim Cramer. Ross Levinsohn identified the need for the brand to break into the cryptocurrency sector. Its customers were requesting this type of content, so Levinsohn initiated the development of a paywall-backed newsletter and a channel that were devoted solely to cryptocurrencies.

The approach that the Sports Illustrated CEO took to address his new company’s problem included the development of a new paywall as well. The website was already monetized, but Levinsohn decided to take this to a higher level with the launch of a premium subscription membership. These members now are given early access to the brand’s content. This has resolved the situation at Sports Illustrated, and it has provided other brands with a source of inspiration.