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Gallup Targets Online Subscriptions

The Gallup Organization is putting its 62-year old "brain" online. For a price.

Looking to cash in on a growing market for polling and stats-based editorial services, the Washington D.C.-based Gallup plans to roll out a $95-per-year "Tuesday Briefing" service providing weekly summaries and analyses of its latest proprietary poll findings.

The Tuesday Briefing premium service is Gallup's second attempt at an online subscription offering and it marks the first time polling data and analysis from Gallup's editors will be made available to the general public. The Gallup Management Journal is already a paid service that targets high-end consulting subscribers.

Steve O'Brien, executive publisher of The Gallup Poll, told internetnews.com the decision to launch a premium service to the general public was a no-brainer because of the exclusivity and uniqueness of the data and information being sold.

"This gives us an outlet to reach consumers directly with our information. Historically, we have been used as resource to other media. They would pick up our polling data and stories and rewrite them but, once in a while, they get the story wrong because they're not familiar with the data," O'Brien explained. With Tuesday Briefing, he said the company was "taking control" of the polling information and selling it directly to consumers in five market segments.

The service, which will be geared primarily for journalists, academics, advertising and public relations executives, will be hawking data and news stories in the areas of religion, education, healthcare, finance and government. For $95 a year, O'Brien said subscribers would get a weekly e-mail newsletter with 10 new summaries, two summaries for each subject from Gallup editors.

More importantly, the "Gallup Brain" archives, which dates back to 1935, would be accessible under the subscription plan.

"They (subscribers) get access to the Gallup Brain, which is an interactive archive of all our data. A user can go in and build trends. For instance, if a journalist is doing a story on gun control, they can use the 'Brain' to access all the polls we're done over the years on gun control and do a trend line," O'Brien said.

Rafat Ali, who covers the premium content industry for Paid Content, believes the launch of Tuesday Briefing is "the real democratization of online media."

They could have made it free, but then they need revenues. For $95 a year, it is not cheap, as far as consumer subscriptions go, but academics should lap this up, so should all those war bloggers," Ali told internetnews.com.

He said the move towards premium subscription comes as Gallup is looking to build its PR profile by trying to become a more accessible source of information. Another key for Gallup, according to Ali, is that "the cost of developing this subscription service is almost zero, apart from perhaps the marketing costs."

Gallup makes money primarily from the sale of polling data to traditional media outlets. Media properties like CNN and USAToday sponsor Gallup polls on topical issues but with media budgets contracting, O'Brien believes a whole new market has opened up for the new premium service.

He declined to provide projections for subscriptions, noting he company was very pleased with the response to its beta testing. "We started releasing this in a small way to people familiar with our site last Spring and we've already built a pretty good audience. And, from January next year, we're actively marketing it to people who are not familiar the Gallup site," O'Brien added.