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The Business of Content

Dec 5, 2018

Subscriptions are all the rage in the media industry right now. Facing diminishing ad rates, publishers have turned to the paid subscription model as a way to draw revenue directly from the users that consume their content. Publishers ranging from The New York Times to The Washington Post to The Financial Times have announced they’ve reached north of a million subscribers. It seems like every day a different publisher is announcing the launch of a metered paywall or membership service.

But getting a news consumer to actually open up their wallet and subscribe is harder than it looks, and the space is only getting more competitive as publishers continue to launch subscription offerings. So what are the actions a publisher can take to make it more likely for a casual reader to convert into a paying subscriber?

A new study from digital publishing platform Twipe sought to answer this question. Researcher Mary-Katharine Phillips surveyed 4,000 news consumers across Europe and the U.S. to gain a better understanding of how they consume the news and what drives their news diet.

I interviewed Phillips about what percentage of news consumers are willing to pay for digital news, what drives them to subscribe, and what kind of news formats they prefer.