Subscription Media: Dec 22, 2020

By  Recuro
Dec 22nd 2020
Read time: 
3 minutes
Table of contents


1. The Guardian claims almost 1m paying readers after surge in regular contributions and subscriptions – Press Gazette

The British news group, which has large operations in the United States and Australia, says it now has 352,000 subscriptions to its paid-for apps and tablet editions thanks to 60% year-on-year growth, and 548,000 recurring contributors in addition.

“Readers choose how much they would like to contribute to the Guardian, so levels of payment will vary. The ‘Support the Guardian’ page on its website gives readers the option to contribute £4-16 monthly, £75-500 annually, or £35-280 as a one-off donation.”

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2. American local news outlets have boosted digital subscriptions by about 50% on average, in a year – Poynter

The pandemic and other major news events have helped boost digital subscriptions dramatically at local news outlets in 2020, with a new industry analysis putting the overall increase at about 50% in a year’s time.

“The largest U.S. local news chain, Gannett, reported paid digital-only subscribers of 1.029 million in the third quarter of 2020, a 31.1% increase year-over-year.”

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3. These are the most popular subscription news websites in the world – Press Gazette

Two dozen English-language news publishers and publications have collected 100,000 or more digital-only subscriptions, new research by Press Gazette has found.

“US giants the New York Times (6.1m), Washington Post (3m) and Wall Street Journal (2.4m) lead the way in our 100k Club league table.”

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4. American publishers predict revenue growth in 2021, with subscriptions as a main driver – Adweek

Despite ongoing hardships, the mood of media professionals is bordering on optimism, according to a survey conducted by Adweek. Among the expected ‘green shoots’ are an increase in digital subscriptions.

“Half of survey respondents believe subscriptions will be a crucial part of publishers’ revenue strategy going forward.”

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5. More Swedes are now digital-only subscribers than paper subscribers – Breakit

According to a new report over Internet usage in Sweden, Swedish newspapers now for the first time have more digital-only subscribers than paper subscribers.

“The number of people who have a paper newspaper at home in any form (whether it is a weekend subscription or a full week) has dropped from 39 percent to 28 percent in one year. At the same time, purely digital subscriptions are increasing by 50 percent – and for the first time passing the group that only subscribed to a daily newspaper via paper.”

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1. Journalism professor: ‘Membership model’ is the way forward for media – Subscribed

Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University, says in an interview with Subscribed that “membership models,” which imply readers’ participation, are the media’s solution to the problems of declining revenues and increasing competition.

“With membership, it’s more like joining a cause because you believe in the work. That means the model depends on locating your strongest supporters and persuading them to support you.”

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2. How Wall Street Journal used subscriptions ‘science’ to sign up 350,000 new online subscribers this year – Press Gazette

At the end of September, the Wall Street Journal had 750,000 print subscribers – compared to 2.35 million digital only subscribers. Driving the growth is, among other things, a paywall that determines when the reader is ‘becoming habitual’ and thus is more likely to sign up for a subscription, WSJ’s premium manager Karl Wells tells Press Gazette.

“If five years ago, subscriptions were more art than science, I would say now subscriptions are more science than art. Big data is not a recent thing, but I suppose the application that you can build on top of big data is what we’ve done to drive a lot of business performance.”

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3. 2020 in subscriptions: Covid-19 has boosted reader revenues – What’s New in Publishing

Already trending upwards for many publishers, reader revenue growth has been spurred on by lockdown audiences desperate for news and with lots of time on their hands, according to the report Media Moments 2020.

“Interestingly, most of the leading publishers brought their coronavirus coverage in front of their paywalls. Slightly counterintuitive you might think, and some argued that it was the wrong thing to do. But the move, as well as being socially responsible, paid off in additional subscriptions for those with must-read coverage […]”

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4. Local news most important for Norwegian digital subscribers – Mediebedriftene

Norwegian newspapers now have over one million digital-only subscribers combined. And the most important motivating factor behind subscribing is for readers to be able to follow what is happening in their local area, writes Mediebedriftene, citing a survey.

“National newspapers are stated as particularly important for gaining access to news that is not found in free news sources, while the niche newspapers to the greatest extent contribute to keeping people up to date in a work context.”

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