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Investors Chronicle - Alpha Supplement
Chris Howland
Posted: 19 March 2018 14:06:01(UTC)
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Investors Chronicle are introducing a new supplement called Alpha. Any other IC subscribers out there that understand and would like to comment on whats going on here and why?

My annual subscription to IC costs £165 a year. I consider the value to OK, given my investment strategy and appetite for risk. Adding an 'alpha' subscription would increase the cost to £295, not far off double.

What I'm struggling to understand is their strategy; yes I understand that they want greater revenue from their subscriber base, I just can't see how they can achieve this by alienating many of the subscribers they already have. If I don't take the 'alpha' subscription, does that make me a second class subscriber? In a world where their job is to report important market information, what important market information are they now not going to be telling me?

Alternatively, if they are going to continue to report important information to me, how is the supplementary stuff worth the stated cost?

Maybe I'm having a bad day and things will seem clearer tomorrow, but right now I can't see how the additional content is going to be worth the additional £130, and unless they employ a lot more people, how they are going to deliver the content.

I'm a naturally suspicious b****r and I'd love to hear what others think!

Chris

8 users thanked Chris Howland for this post.
Mr Helpful on 19/03/2018(UTC), Tim D on 19/03/2018(UTC), Redundant (Old Timer?) on 19/03/2018(UTC), Keith Hilton on 19/03/2018(UTC), Keith Cobby on 19/03/2018(UTC), Alan Selwood on 19/03/2018(UTC), Guest on 19/03/2018(UTC), sarah b on 25/03/2018(UTC)
Keith Hilton
Posted: 19 March 2018 15:28:17(UTC)
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First that I've heard about this new service, despite being a print only subscriber for many years. Did I miss this in the magazine - I do sometimes just skim it? From the IC website, it says ...

"While some Alpha content may be reproduced in your weekly Investors Chronicle magazine in a shortened format, the vast majority of Alpha content will be digital-only and will be delivered via a brand new Alpha section of the Investors Chronicle website. All articles will be available for readers in PDF format to allow for them to be downloaded, saved and read at your convenience."

Also ...

"We want to give IC subscribers as much opportunity as possible to discover the Alpha content before deciding whether to subscribe. Initially we will be making IC Alpha content available to all Investors Chronicle Digital and Print + Digital subscribers for a period of 8 weeks from 5 March 2018. During this period subscribers will be able to see examples of the sort of content they would receive with an IC Alpha subscription and also to sign up to the IC Alpha weekly email."

It would seem that I'm already a 2nd class subscriber, as I don't take digital and don't therefore qualify for a free trial. Well they've certainly managed to alienate this long term subscriber!
2 users thanked Keith Hilton for this post.
Chris Howland on 19/03/2018(UTC), Guest on 24/03/2018(UTC)
dyfed
Posted: 19 March 2018 15:32:32(UTC)
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I entirely agree with your logic.
I was recently havering between a subscription to the FT or IC, but when they told me about this supplement I decided in favour of the FT!
4 users thanked dyfed for this post.
Keith Hilton on 19/03/2018(UTC), Tim D on 19/03/2018(UTC), Chris Howland on 19/03/2018(UTC), Guest on 24/03/2018(UTC)
Keith Cobby
Posted: 19 March 2018 16:30:52(UTC)
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I haven't bought the IC for decades. I sometimes have a quick flick through while waiting for something/one. I can't see how this 'premium' content will help me. I also no longer miss reading John Baron's views now that they have to be paid for. I think 'tip sheets' of any kind are worthless and there is sufficient content freely available online.
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Chris Howland on 19/03/2018(UTC), dlp6666 on 20/03/2018(UTC), sarah b on 25/03/2018(UTC)
Chris Howland
Posted: 19 March 2018 16:49:45(UTC)
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Keith Cobby;58969 wrote:
...I also no longer miss reading John Baron's views now that they have to be paid for. I think 'tip sheets' of any kind are worthless and there is sufficient content freely available online.


Agree about the John Baron portfolios. His monthly 'explanation' for his trades usually points you to his website! That will be £170 please!

There's very little juice left in my lemon - it may be time for some bohemian investing...

Chris
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Keith Cobby on 19/03/2018(UTC)
Nigel G
Posted: 19 March 2018 17:36:54(UTC)
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Investors Chronicle wrote:
Additional monthly share tips - Simon Thompson's analyst length small-cap special reports

Weekly updates to Algy Hall's stock screens - alerts as companies hit the criteria of potentially market-beating strategies

Broker length sector reports - valuations, analysis of industry trends; PLUS comparisons with major overseas-listed companies

Quarterly asset allocation reviews - discover the world's cheapest markets and learn how to manage a multi-asset portfolio

Professional risk management techniques - monitor how buying and selling securities alters the reward-to-risk profile of our Alpha portfolios

Monthly overviews of investment trusts trading at a premium or a discount - discover the best value closed-ended funds

It makes you wonder what's going to be left for regular (Beta?) subscribers.
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Chris Howland on 19/03/2018(UTC), dlp6666 on 20/03/2018(UTC)
Alan Selwood
Posted: 19 March 2018 18:02:45(UTC)
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I do subscribe to IC as a digital-only subscriber, and for me the best of the content has been Simon Thompson's huge output on small UK companies and the annual review of AIM stocks.

However, Simon's output did not appear for a while around the end of the calendar year, and his recent output seems a bit reduced (I'm not surprised, as he must have worked himself into the ground producing as much as he did!).

I haven't so far been persuaded to consider the Alpha option, and the price is steep relative to what I have been getting for £39 per quarter on the digital option.

If the 'Beta' content goes down, I shall probably jump ship, though I have to say that so far the subscription has been well worth spending money on, if only for a small handful of the recommended shares (e.g. Abcam, Bango, Burford Capital, to quote some at the beginning of the alphabet).
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Chris Howland on 19/03/2018(UTC), Hilary hames on 20/03/2018(UTC), sarah b on 25/03/2018(UTC)
Chris Howland
Posted: 19 March 2018 19:10:09(UTC)
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Alan Selwood;58979 wrote:
If the 'Beta' content goes down, I shall probably jump ship...


My thoughts exactly!

Chris
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David BB on 19/03/2018(UTC)
xcity
Posted: 19 March 2018 20:36:08(UTC)
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I have the digital and print subscription. Sometimes interesting. Tend to look through the print version more productively than the digital.
Hadn't realised Alpha was free for a couple of months. I don't think anything the IC could do would be worth that subscription. Since their main writers will be spending a fair bit of time on stuff for Alpha, the other subscriptions must get less. Maybe replaced by others like the reporter who recommended Conviviality just before the profit warning (to be fair, she did switch to a sell before the share was suspended).
I had a quick look. ST's first detailed report was on a very small REIT in process of selling up. Limited upside. Small market size. I don't think I'll be paying for that.

I've already dispensed with the FT without any perceived loss. Full of anti-Brexit rhetoric and virtually nothing of any use.
The IC was already next on my list.

I will be keeping Sharepad. And Stockopedia for now. Considering Research Tree.
3 users thanked xcity for this post.
Chris Howland on 19/03/2018(UTC), Tim D on 19/03/2018(UTC), dlp6666 on 20/03/2018(UTC)
anglo29
Posted: 20 March 2018 19:22:51(UTC)
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Could this be a prelude to them going completely online, in the same way that newspapers with their dwindling circulations are eventually preparing for?

Although I read IC and Money Observer, finding them useful for all round "background" information, I never slavishly follow share tips, since ultimately, however "expert" the tipsters, they are just one person's opinion, and since those experts are not able to predict the future, I find that my own research, coupled with a dose of common sense, and an awareness of the global situation, is often just as valid.

I don't always get it right, but then neither do the experts.

Paying extra for so called "Alpha" information, when you could, with a bit of research and imagination get hold of the information you need for free, seems to me down to laziness, or maybe it makes you feel better to have someone else make decisions for you, taking away responsibility for your own decisions?
3 users thanked anglo29 for this post.
Chris Howland on 20/03/2018(UTC), Mr Helpful on 21/03/2018(UTC), Guest on 24/03/2018(UTC)
Chris Howland
Posted: 23 March 2018 20:10:35(UTC)
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Things continue to develop...

I received a letter from IC subs department today, advising me that my quarterly subscription was going up by 50p!

That really makes me wonder what's going on at IC? A £2 annual increase is an oddity: no-one is going to object too much and the additional revenue probably isn't as significant as IC might wish for. I suspect that £5 a quarter would have received pretty much the same reaction.

I'm guessing that IC in its current guise is finding itself squeezed between the various free content providers (Kepler, Edison, Morningstar etc) and the up-market £300/year premium/specialist providers (Sharepad, John Baron Portfolios etc). I don't think they can win holding the middle ground, trying to satisfy everyone, hence their current re-think.

Intrigued to see what happens next. Time will inform the wisdom of their choice!

Chris
Alan Selwood
Posted: 24 March 2018 00:28:18(UTC)
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I think that if I was running the IC, I would take a very serious look at whether to produce paper magazines at all, since print costs and postage costs have gone up a lot, and use of mobile devices has soared over the last 10 years. Conversely, with digital-only, once you have created the content, each extra subscriber's cost is very low and the profit gearing is to the upside.

But the content has to be first-rate, otherwise you have no competitive moat.

Chris Howland
Posted: 24 March 2018 00:48:40(UTC)
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Alan Selwood;59256 wrote:
I think that if I was running the IC, I would take a very serious look at whether to produce paper magazines at all, since print costs and postage costs have gone up a lot, and use of mobile devices has soared over the last 10 years. Conversely, with digital-only, once you have created the content, each extra subscriber's cost is very low and the profit gearing is to the upside.

But the content has to be first-rate, otherwise you have no competitive moat.



Agreed - however they evolve, the decision is going to be unpopular with someone. Best to make a decision that suits them and their business model.

If this is print free, then designing the content for mobile devices alone brings some additional freedoms. At present they are print format first and foremost and that is probably impeding their development.
anglo29
Posted: 24 March 2018 15:08:05(UTC)
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[/quote]

Agreed - however they evolve, the decision is going to be unpopular with someone. Best to make a decision that suits them and their business model.

If this is print free, then designing the content for mobile devices alone brings some additional freedoms. At present they are print format first and foremost and that is probably impeding their development.[/quote]



In the current increasingly fast paced economic world, I suspect being primarily a print format weekly mag. is a distinct disadvantage. For instance Trump implements trade sanctions, China retaliates.....possibly throwing IC's most recent recommendations into disarray, since it's all happened too close to the print deadline to substantially change much....No such problems online.

If the print edition were monthly, then there'd be more breathing space between deadlines to digest events and schedule content accordingly with possibly a more reflective long term view?

xcity
Posted: 24 March 2018 20:26:12(UTC)
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Personally, I would end my subscription completely if it were digital only.
Online competition is too fierce; either much better (in some way) or much cheaper.

Print means that I can flick through, when I'm really doing something else.
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David BB on 25/03/2018(UTC)
philip gosling
Posted: 25 March 2018 16:05:34(UTC)
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I stopped my print subscription some time ago and if the free digital content shows articles of interest then I go and read that week's Investors Chronicle ( and Money Observer) in the library.
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