Subscription Media: Dec 1, 2020

By  Recuro
Dec 1st 2020
Read time: 
3 minutes
Table of contents


1. Publishers can now offer targeted discounts in the App Store - Nieman Lab

Apple recently made a little-noticed announcement that app publishers could now offer special offers via discount codes. An in-app subscription can have up to 10 different offers active at any one time.

“That might not seem like a big deal, but it helps address one of publishers’ most common complaints about the App Store: that its pricing wasn’t flexible enough for an industry that’s found targeted discounting essential to a successful digital subscription strategy.”

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2. Washington Post is nearing 3 million digital subscribers - Axios

The Washington Post is nearing 3 million digital subscribers, a 50% year-over-year growth in subscriptions and more than 3x the number of digital-only subscribers it had in 2016, according to Axios. Much of the Post's growth is attributed to back-end technology investments supported by its owner Jeff Bezos.

“The Post now has an engineering team specifically focused on subscription conversions that rebuilt The Post’s paywall and metering applications this year to boost sign-ups. It also created a new post-purchase experience that has helped The Post dramatically reduce subscriber churn and increase app adoption.”

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3. The New York Times will be free for American high school students and teachers until September 2021 - New York Times

The New York Times will be made available for free to high school students above the age of 13 and teachers across the United States until September 2021.

“[...] as students and teachers head into an unprecedented school year, it’s essential that they have access to information that helps them understand what’s happening.”

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4. Media stock may take a hit from "The Trump Dump" - Seeking Alpha

The Trump Presidency drove record high levels of political readership interest. Now that the election results are in, the odds are low that Trump can reverse it, and media stocks such as The New York Times, Fox and Twitter might be in for a bumpy ride, writes Seeking Alpha.

“We believe that a decline in consumer interest in news following the departure of President Trump could result in subscriber declines. Digital subscribers - particularly those who are not on promotional pricing plans - have extremely attractive unit economics and high contribution margin. Losses of these subscribers could have a meaningful impact on EBITDA.”

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5. The Canada Revenue Agency Is Providing a $500 Digital News Tax Credit - Motley Fool

To support and keep the business model financially sustainable during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Canadian government has introduced a new temporary, non-refundable 15% tax credit for qualifying subscribers of eligible digital news media.

“One business the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage is digital news media. Besides a significant reduction in advertising revenues, Canadian digital news media organizations face stiff competition from international news providers.”

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1. The South China Morning Post’s 10 questions for publishers launching digital subscriptions - WAN-IFRA

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) has been reporting news about Asia and China and its impact on the world for 117 years. It recently launched a digital subscription service. Adrian Lee, Senior Vice President, discusses some early lessons and highlights 10 questions publishers should ask themselves when they consider launching a subscription service.

“We’ve seen a number of news organisations blend their subscription services based on market needs, audience needs and effectively, the premium-ness and the strength of the content they are able to generate. The choice of a subscription model is an evolving decision. It’s not something that is wholly fixed.”

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2. Subscription strategies in the age of COVID: 7 developments for publishers - What’s New in Publishing

What's New in Publishing looks at the landscape for publishers as the corona pandemic progresses and lists seven trends that are important to keep an eye on.

“At the start of the year, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (RISJ), found that 50% of digital leaders identified reader revenue as their major income focus for 2020.”

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3. Reader-revenue model better for journalism than ad-driven 'churnalism' says PA managing director - Press Gazette

Polly Curtis, managing director at PA Media and formerly editor-in-chief at Huffpost UK and digital editor at the Guardian, says that traffic-driven "churnalism" is neither good for public interest journalism nor the business. Subscriptions, especially now that the ad market has taken a hit, is a much better fit for journalism, she says.

“I think a subscription world is so much better for journalism because every new brand whether you are a small local brand or whether you’re a national, whatever you are, you have to think about your purpose and who your core readers are and you have to be true to that so you have to really deliver the value that you’re offering in the reader-revenue world.”

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