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One of the most successful Web sites in this category is Counsel Connect, the online business of American Lawyer Media, a New York company that publishes 10 regional and state legal publications, including American Lawyer magazine, and is an owner-operator of cable channel Courtroom Television Network.
FIXING A MONTHLY RATE
Counsel Connect, which launched as a proprietary service in 1993 and on the Web in 1994, charges subscribers a monthly rate of $9.95 or $12.95, the latter of which includes Internet access service through CompuServe.
With 46,000 members, Counsel Connect now derives 90% of its revenue through subscriptions, although it expects advertising to make up a greater chunk in the future.
SUBS AND ADS TOGETHER
The service, which counts 33 proprietary advertisers and seven Web advertisers, charges $275 a week for a 13-week rotating banner on its proprietary service, and $250 a week for a 13-week program on the Web site.
With its current base of advertisers, that's roughly $140,000 in ad revenues for a 13-week period.
However, when Counsel Connect moves entirely to the Web by the end of this quarter, it will change its rate card to between $50 and $450 per 1,000 impressions, the higher end being for super targeted ads such as sponsoring a personal injury lawyer discussion group.
"If we didn't have a couple hundred legal reporters and editors knowledgeable about their markets, it would be a lot harder to convene online discussions," said Barbara Johnson, president of American Lawyer Media, emphasizing one of the major advantages that trade publications have over other start-up ventures that might enter the online market.