Subscription Media: Oct 6, 2020

By  Recuro
Oct 5th 2020
Read time: 
4 minutes
Table of contents


1. Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter on course for best results since 1990s  – Financial Times

Dagens Nyheter lifted their paywall in ‘try before you buy’ strategy during the corona pandemic and is now on course to increase operating profit by about 50 percent this year.

“[Editor in chief] Mr Wolodarski made the decision to open up its website to non-subscribers for free at various times throughout the crisis in exchange for their email address. About 25 to 30 percent of the 200,000 people who tried it out converted to a subscription [...]”

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2. The Local reaches 30,000 paying members  - LinkedIn

Expat site The Local Europe, which has editions in eight European markets, now has over 30,000 paying members and has grown by 130 %  since the beginning of the year, according to founder and CEO James Savage.

“[...] we have members, not subscribers--and that distinction is meaningful. Our members are part of our workflow: we solicit their ideas, their contributions and their feedback all day, every day.”

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3. Publishers see subscription resilience as evidence of sticky coronavirus-cohorts grows - Digiday

U.K. digital publishers’ subscription revenues increased by 19.3% in the first three months of 2020, and demand for paid content seems to stay high. Meanwhile, publishers are experimenting with different methods to manage retention, such as bundles and keeping track of engagement levels.

“In the media and publishing space, what is largely driving people to think about subscription models more so is the absolute collapse of ad revenue. Times of economic crisis are times where subscription businesses accelerate. It’s a very attractive model, especially in times of adversity and scarcity.”

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4. Election-focused products charge U.S. growth at The Economist - Digiday

With a few weeks until Americans vote for the next president, The Economist is gunning to further grow its U.S. audience with election-focused content and digital products. That includes A presidential forecast model, and House and Senate models.

“These models are updated each day to indicate who is likely to win the race the first week of November, pulling in various different polls, publicly available data and historical data from as far back as 1948.”

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5. French newspaper Le Parisien doubles its digital subscribers - WAN-IFRA

In the past year, France’s Le Parisien has doubled both its numbers of digital subscribers and its digital revenue largely through an effort to produce far more “premium” articles. The site has now become a hybrid of metered and paywalled content, and the goal is now set to reach 200,000 digital subscribers in five years, which can be compared to the current print circulation 0f 300,000 copies a day.

“Another learning is that more than 50 percent of subscribers are coming from the apps, so the apps are crucial to our subscription success. And only 30 percent of the subscriptions are coming directly from the paywall.”

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1. American publisher reduces churn to 1% after replacing print edition with digital replica on iPad - What’s New in Publishing

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reduced its churn to 1% by cutting down on the print edition, and instead getting readers habituated to the digital edition by lending out iPads for the duration of their subscriptions.

“The publisher’s strategy involves lending iPads to subscribers to read the online replica of the print edition. It is laid out like a traditional newspaper and when readers click on a story it is presented to them in an easily readable format.”

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2. Case study: Publish less, but publish better: pivoting to paid in local news – Reuters

A new Reuters case study of how eight local and regional newspapers in four countries (Finland, France, Germany, and the UK) have handled the digital transformation concludes that all of the case news papers have shifted away from the pursuit of audience reach, and towards subscriptions.

“In the last two years, all of the case newspapers have shifted from digital strategies emphasising the pursuit of audience reach, monetised through advertising or a blend of paid-content models and auxiliary sources, to a focus on building lasting relationships with readers who will pay for online content in the form of subscriptions, memberships, access to premium articles, donations, or micropayments.”

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3. Opinion: $1bn news fund is one small step for Google, but a giant leap for the principle of paying for news – Press Gazette

Google has announced it will spend $1bn over the next three years paying news publishers for content. The principle behind the decision is more important than the money it will bring to publishers, argues Press Gazette’s Dominic Ponsford, because “it represents an admission that free media platforms like Google are now willing to pay for quality content.”

“Globally, it represents annual expenditure equivalent to around 1% of Google parent company Alphabet’s net profits for 2019. For publishers it will provide an extra revenue stream (though once that $330m a year has been divvied up globally it is not going to be a game changer).”

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30 percent

is the year-on-year growth in paying digital subscribers for the Finnish newspaper Kaleva since they started to daily A/B/C testing to tweak the content. Read more

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