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Paywalls Promise Growth for Digital Newspapers

February 16, 2016 | Lucy Tozer

Paywalls Promise Growth for Digital Newspapers

There have been growing developments for digital paywalls within the newspaper industry, as many renowned publishers have reported increased revenue and a surge in subscribers.

After launching its metered paywall back in 2011, the New York Times has experienced noteworthy growth across its business. Just recently, it remarkably reached a total of 1million digital-only subscribers. Other major brands such as The Wall Street Journal now have 900,000 digital-only subscribers, followed by the Financial Times, which has over 520,000 digital-only subscribers. Gannett, which owns over 90 daily newspapers in the US, also reported an extraordinary increase of 37% for digital-only subscriptions in the third quarter of 2015.

For the Times, the implementation of its paywall model has been extremely worthwhile. It now earns more revenue from its readers than advertisers, with readers accounting for approximately 55% of all revenue. Ken Doctor, a media analyst for Newsonomics, observed “Reaching the point of earning more than 50 percent of your revenue from readers is an important crossover point for any newspaper”, he also went on to explain that the fact that satisfied readers willing to pay for unique content enables newspapers to get paid by the people they are truly serving.

The Times has also cleverly used its paywall to create unique advertising opportunities. Global brands such as Ralph Lauren and Lincoln Motor Co. have collaborated with the Times to sponsor their content and promote free access to the app for selected users.

Read our ‘Subscription Models’ White Paper to discover the various types of models available and how they can assist in driving revenue.