Over the last four decades, Ross Levinsohn has been innovating change in the publishing and media industries. In fact, his exciting career has taken him to some of the highest executive perches at companies like Guggenheim Digital, Maven Media, Whisper Advisors, Yahoo!, CBS Sportsline and others. Since 2016, he has served as the Sports Illustrated CEO, and he has expertly guided this notable brand through serious growing pains.
Sports Illustrated has been dominant in the sports niche of the print publishing world throughout its 70-year history. It boasts a large audience with readership on multiple continents. Throughout the majority of its history, income from print subscriptions and print ads has been substantial. However, as the internet rose in popularity, the monetization plan at this major brand has had to shift. Like many other print brands at the time, Sports Illustrated quickly created and monetized a website to tap into the potential that the internet provided. Revenue from this digital presence created a new stream that solidified the coffers. However, the growing prevalence of the internet led to a drop in print readership and ad revenue. As Sports Illustrated CEO, Levinsohn needed to address this critical situation intelligently.
While Levinsohn worked at Maven Media as its CEO, he oversaw the structuring and revisions of monetization plans for more than 300 key media brands. Through this professional experience, Levinsohn was able to extract key points that could be applied to the Sports Illustrated dilemma. One of these experiences was with his work for The Street with Jim Cramer. Levinsohn became attuned to the fact that The Street’s audience had a waxing desire for more substantial content on cryptocurrencies. He decided to address this transformation in the audience’s interests while also raising revenue through the introduction of a new paywall. This new structure is backed exclusively by a newsletter and a channel devoted to cryptocurrencies.
A new paywall was part of the solution that Ross Levinsohn used at Sports Illustrated. However, he did not produce new lines of digital content to profit from the paywall. Instead, he elevated the value of the brand’s content by offering it early through a premium subscription online. Levinsohn continues to blaze trails for the media industry through his many endeavors today.