Why has growth in Morningstar Direct licenses stagnated? And why did U.S. licenses in particular decline in 2023?

June 14, 2024

During 2023, we instituted a meaningful price increase for Morningstar Direct licenses. With the increase, some large asset managers (especially in the U.S.) reduced their licenses. This contributed to the slower growth in overall licenses you observe as well as the modest decline in US licenses over the year. Morningstar Direct licenses increased to 18,562 as of December 31, 2023 (+0.8% compared to Dec. 31, 2022), while US licenses declined to 9,072 (-1.8% compared to Dec. 31, 2022). Morningstar Direct license growth in the US and outside the US was positive in the first quarter of 2024 compared to December 2023, with total licenses increasing 0.6% to 18,680 as of March 31, 2024.

Direct license counts do not tell the full story of how clients access our data and research. We’d note that several clients who reduced their Direct licenses also increased the scope of reporting and distribution licenses at renewal. This access is distinct from Morningstar Direct and allows licensed users to distribute Direct output (reports or data, depending on the license) internally and externally. Revenue from these licenses is included in Morningstar Data and Analytics but not in the Morningstar Direct product area, and grew nicely in 2023 and in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the prior-year periods. Combined Direct and Direct reporting revenue grew over and above price increases on a topline basis.

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