As the "self-described small integrator" who John has quoted above, I'll give you my perspective.
EDIT: Firstly, the "had for free anywhere else" refers to the fact that, if you remove IPVM's staff, testing, facility, and whatnot, what you are left with here is an industry-oriented discussion forum. My contention is that the $199 pays for the staff, facility, tests, etc. not the forum itself, and if you had to pay that $199 just for the forum, you likely would not.
There are, guaranteed, more smaller integrators in this field than there are executives, CEOs, and upper management of major corporations. Nowhere have I ever seen a mission statement or objective by IPVM indicating they were catering primarily to the elite, but that's precisely where the Research tier is taking them.
John is quick to publish what articles the executives of this forum read, but I have not seen him explain how many executives versus integrators are members here. And of those integrators, what their employee sizes and revenues are. It would have been much more equitable and sensible if IPVM structured their pricing based on those two metrics of an organization, instead of penalizing and alienating small companies who cannot justify thousands of dollars for the content here. It's not like either one is difficult to establish; just look em up on Linkedin and there's your employee size.
I found the most value in the test reports, but I most definitely do not see thousands of dollars value in them. The second thing I found useful was communicating with industry asking them technical questions, but most of them were not able to be answered to my satisfaction (maybe because the demographic here is all executives and CEOs who've never touched a hand tool?). I'd have been glad to go to $299 annually, inflation and all that. But to expect someone my size to pay thousands of dollars for the same content is ludicrous. It's milking the suits, nothing more.
Of course if this forum IS all just suits with the occasional integrator then John's perspective would make much more sense and I would recognize it was I who is out-of-place, and quietly shuffle off to some other forum where my needs would be better met.