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How the British Journal of Photography developed an international membership proposition

The BJP has been inspiring photographers for over 160 years and is on the reading list for the majority of photography students.  Their website attracts 1.7m visitors a year and they have an international following on social media of over 1 million.

In the last few years, the parent company, 1854 Media, have developed a series of international photography award competitions, including Portrait of Humanity, Portrait of Britain and Female in Focus, which have attracted 90,000 paid submissions from 15,000 photographers from 118 countries.

This prompted the launch in April 2019 of a membership programme for aspiring photographers, 1854 Access, which combines the magazine (digital and print) with free entries to awards and access to paid commissions from commercial partners.

In just a few months they acquired 2500 paying members, of whom half are outside the UK, and 40% digital-only.  These are a highly engaged group, with 50% entering an award and open rates on member communications of 80%.  Whilst digital only membership packages are growing at a faster rate, the absolute volume of print packages is also growing, and are equally profitable.  By January 2020, they expect to have grown to 4000 members.

CEO Marc Hartog is now highly focussed on growing the number of new Access members, converting existing subscribers to membership, and creating more opportunities for members to engage with each other.

At Making Publishing Pay in February 2020, Marc Hartog will share what he has learnt about creating a membership proposition for talented early career photographers, and how the business is using its international reach and awards portfolio to attract new paying customers.

  • How pricing has been set for different packages to ensure margins are preserved
  • How membership is marketed to different audience segments
  • How they plan to engage the audience to build a sense of community
  • Which privileges members enjoy in awards entries and access to commissions

Delegates will have time to ask questions about the process and understand how they could develop a membership proposition in their own media business.


Making Publishing Pay is a conference for independent publishing and media businesses that will inspire with stories of innovation and provide real-world practical tips on how to diversify revenues and build value within a media business.

See the full agenda here:

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