Subscription Media: Dec 15, 2020

By  Recuro
Dec 15th 2020
Read time: 
3 minutes
Table of contents


 1. Time for Kids racks up 63,000 subscribers in 4 months - Adweek

Time's youth-focused title is nearly profitable after introducing a digital subscription service in August. The willingness of parents to give their children access to trustworthy and informative reading during the pandemic is the key to the success, according to Times' chairman Keith Grossman.

“As parents doubled up as educators, leaning into youth-focused content has been good business for some publishers. Weekly current affairs magazine The Week Junior, launched in the U.S. in March, had 75,000 paid subscribers in November.”

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2. Scroll, the ad-free news startup, tests a limited partnership with publisher McClatch - Nieman Lab

Scroll, whose users pay $5/month for the privilege of an ad-free reading experience on news sites, is partnering with McClatchy, the publisher of The Sacramento Bee and the Kansas City Star et al, to experiment with bundling subscriptions to its ad-free network.

[Scroll’s CEO Tony Haile] put the six month paid retention rate at 85 percent and writes that publishers are receiving two to three times more revenue per user with Scroll than they’d receive from advertising.”

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3. Member-funded The Correspondent closes after Covid-19 news cycle made model 'unsustainable' - Press Gazette

The Correspondent – a reader-funded website with a choose-what-you-pay model -  is closing two years after launching a $2.6m crowdfunding campaign. The latest published member count stood at 20,000 – down from 50,000 at launch.

“With the Covid-19 pandemic dominating headlines non-stop for much of the year, it proved very difficult to offer ‘unbreaking news’ to members in over 140 countries.”

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 4. FIPP: 2020 was a great year for digital subscriptions - FIPP

In FIPP’s final update of the Global Digital Subscriptions Snapshot for 2020, New York Times leads the chart with 6.1 million subscribers, followed by Washington Post with 3 million, and Wall Street Journal with 2.34 million subscribers.

“The combination of global audiences with a thirst for the latest news on the pandemic, coupled with mass working from home, has seen a boom in numbers beyond anything we could have predicted.”

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 1. Prediction for 2021: The bundle gets bundled - Nieman LabIn 2021, credit card companies will add a news subscription to their mega-bundles akin to what they already do for a variety of services and even certain apps, predicts Ryan Kellett, senior director of audience at The Washington Post.

“What’s in it for news publishers? A ton of new leads, complete with credit card numbers and email addresses on file. Most companies look at partnerships like this as a marketing cost: Hook some new subscribers for a period of time at a discount, and once the incentive goes away, some percentage of users will stay on.”

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2. How L’Equipe is turning readers into subscribers -

The website of L’Equipe, a France-based global media company focussed on sports, has 2.4 million daily visitors, and 300,000 subscribers. Nearly all of these subscribers have been brought onboard in the past five years thanks to a customer-centred approach and mandatory registration.

“To help drive subscriptions, their digital offers are promoted across a wide range of channels, including TV, Facebook and Google ads as well as Instagram. They also use the print newspaper to promote digital subscriptions. In addition, their app is a key sales tool with app store sales contributing about 40 percent of subscriptions.”

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3. Subscriptions in 2020 - TheFix

The big players got bigger and stronger, while the small ones continued to struggle, writes TheFix in a summary of the year 2020 in subscriptions.

“The pandemic also saw the rise of new products. Several reports came out highlighting the rise of youth-focused news products both print and digital. The products focused on both entertainment and education, providing a helping hand to overwhelmed parents dealing with housebound kids.”

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 4. Can Substack build a new model for journalism? - The Verge

Substack, an online platform for subscription newsletters, is sometimes called a disruptor in the media industry. On The Verge's podcast Decoder, Chris Best, co-founder and CEO of Substack, explains the ins-and-outs of the service that has compelled several high-profile American journalists to leave their jobs at traditional media companies to start paid newsletters.

“People find out that you’re a writer that they trust and has good ideas, and they want to invest the time and money to subscribe and pay. And the only way they’re going to do that is if they get to read real, good things that you’ve done. So “make your best stuff free” is a counterintuitive thing that we didn’t expect and it runs counter to a lot of writers’ intuition.”

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