Subscription Media: Dec 8, 2020

By  Recuro
Dec 8th 2020
Read time: 
4 minutes
Table of contents


1. Google’s News Showcase will add free access to paywalled stories - Techcrunch

Through Google's News Showcase initiative, the search giant will pay selected publishers the equivalent of $ 1 billion to allow users to read certain material behind payment walls free of charge. The new feature will be launched "soon".

“Those users will, however, still need to register directly with the publishers, which Google says will give them a way to build a relationship.”

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2. The Atlantic reaches 700,000 subscribers and names new CEO - Axios

The American magazine’s new CEO is Nicholas Thompson, the former editor-in-chief of Wired, who has introduced paywalls on both Wired and The New Yorker. In addition, The Atlantic announces that it now has over 700,000 subscribers after a year of rapid growth.

“The Atlantic has pushed over the past two years to introduce a membership model, on top of its live events and advertising businesses. But the company, like many others in the media industry, has struggled amid the pandemic.”

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3. 6,000 new trial subscribers for Swedish newspaper when Greta Thunberg took over as editor-in-chief for a day - Dagens Media

Over 6,000 new trial subscribers and sold-out print issues. That was the effect when environmental activist Greta Thunberg took over as editor-in-chief for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter for a day.

“More than 6,000 people registered as trial subscribers and 350 people signed up for paid subscriptions. And one person canceled their subscription."

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4. London-based startup Zephr raises $8 million to help publishers grow digital subscriptions - Subscription Insider

Zephr has raised $8 million in a Series A funding round led by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments. The startup, which helps publishers like Condé Nast to increase subscription revenue using first-party reader data will invest the capital in product development and to expand in the US, Europe and Asia.

“In the last 12 months, Zephr has doubled the size of its staff, opened an office in New York City, and expanded its customers across Asia and Eastern and Central Europe. The company expects to triple revenue by the end of 2020.”

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5. Germany's largest newspaper, Bild, tops half a million online paid subscribers - Tech Xplore

After adding 50,000 online members this year, the tabloid-style broadsheet reached 500,000 paid online subscribers in November, which makes it the largest paid online media portal in Germany. Bild's next goal is to reach one million digital subscribers who pay a standard rate of 7.99 euros.

"We have made paid content big not only for Bild, but for Germany. [The platform] is a successful model for paid journalism."

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1. How Wired leveraged Cyber Week readers to increase subscription revenue - Digiday

During the so-called "cyber week", which includes Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, traffic to Wired almost doubled due to the popularity of the tech magazine's gadget reviews. This year, the site also pushed its subscription business to its readers, and gained subscribers at approximately three times the daily average pace.

“It’s a no-brainer strategy to use Black Friday and Cyber Monday content to also sell subscriptions. That’s because it’s about monetizing the audience in every possible way.”

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2. Inc sells subscriptions allowing readers to text with reporters - What's New in Publishing

Inc has lost revenue in 2020 as a result of the corona pandemic and the subsequent cancellation of the online magazine's event, says editor-in-chief Scott Omelaniuk. But he hopes to be able to recoup part of the revenue-loss through a subscription-based SMS-service where readers can subscribe to selected reporters and columnists - and have a dialogue with them.

“I know that a Subtext subscription costs more than a magazine subscription. It does not have the associated manufacturing and distribution costs with it. So the economic model is quite different.”

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3. Four insights from Dennik N’s data-driven subscription strategy - TheFix

Since its start in 2014, the Slovak newspaper Dennik N has attracted 61,000 subscribers and receives most of its revenue from digital subscriptions. Digital director Tomas Bella shares four lessons on the strategy behind the success - which include how the reporters are involved in and gain insight into the subscription business.

“According to Bella, successful articles that sell a lot of subscriptions are the ones that reporters themselves want to write, notably long-form interviews, analyses and investigations.”

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4. “The challenge for 2021 will be retention” - What’s New in Publishing

Many news brands have been posting record gains in digital subscriptions during 2020 and reader revenue has been "firmly re-established as a major revenue line by publishers that once eschewed subscriptions for ad revenue", writes Peter Houston in the trend report Media Moments 2020. The challenge in the coming year will be keeping the new readers subscribed, he adds.

“How will publishers keep hold of subscribers brought in by a crazy-fast news cycle, the challenges of home schooling and the claustrophobic boredom of being made to stay home? Developing reader routines will be central to the efforts of many; making ‘reading your content’ a habit.”

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