April 16, 2019 | Lucy Penn
Growing reader revenues is a hot topic in the newspaper industry as more and more positive case studies emerge from the likes of New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
What’s beginning to emerge more frequently, are stories on how publishers are utilising their sports content to ‘tap into new audiences’ and increase subscription revenue.
In a way ‘sports’ content transcends other content as it attracts a passionate and highly engaged audience that are probably more likely to pay for it. Sports content is also different in that local coverage can have a national, more broad appeal therefore attracts larger audiences.
Let’s Look at Some Examples
The Austin American Statesman, Dallas Morning News and Newsday all have their own sports ‘brands’. The Stateman’s ‘Hook’em’ provides readers with up-to-date sports news, images, videos and podcasts. Unlimited digital content is available for just 99c for 4 week’s access. They also offer a subscription bundle which includes print and digital access for $3.99 per week.
The Dallas Morning News have ‘SportsDay’ which provides their audience with news on the Cowboys, Stars, Mavericks, Rangers, FC Dallas and more. They have three different subscription packages giving readers the option to purchase a quarterly, annual or two-year subscription to access breaking news content, receive dedicated newsletters and SportsDay HS coverage of 150 high schools.
In the UK, The Telegraph introduced a premium sports subscription, ‘Telegraph Premium Sport’ which gives readers access to unlimited sports content across desktop and mobile and within their live app for £1 per week. They encourage subscribers to become part of their ‘sports community’ by enabling commenting on articles, sending weekly sports newsletters and inviting members to exclusive events.
Finally, in our last example, McClatchy launched ‘Sports Pass’, a sports-only content package which enables readers of say, Kansas City Star, to access all of their sports content for $30 per year or $2.50 per month. This was born out of the idea that ‘readers want to be able to purchase a la carte’ and choose the type of content they pay to consume.
Publishers such as McClatchy are using lower-priced sports content to increase subscriber numbers. To date they have introduced sports-only packages across 12 of its newspapers. Similarly, The Telegraph hit their target of reaching 3 million registered users by the end of 2018, in part, by packaging up their sports content. They ran incentives where they offered ‘Premium Sport’ discounted fees and they are currently offering free 30-day trials.
Some people only consume sports content from The Telegraph,” said Peter Hickman, managing director of subscriptions. “This product will cater to an audience of people who come specifically to sports. Hopefully, it will be a launch pad to upgrade to other products.”
Putting it into Practice
A recent survey by the American Press Institute found that 23% of people subscribe [to content] because they are ‘highly interested’ in a specific topic. The survey revealed that sports was the third most followed topic which helps to explain why so many publishers are generating revenue from this sector. Politics was the most popular topic.
Most of the publishers monetizing sports content have dedicated ‘sports’ websites, few have dedicated mobile apps or editions – the platform which often provides the highest levels of engagement and therefore the highest revenue opportunities.
Our Edition solution provides a platform for publishers to create curated ‘editions’ for dedicated sports brands. These editions can sit within an app or progressive web app, alongside a publisher’s daily Replica ePaper and provide readers with a curated, ‘finishable’ consumption experience.
Publishers can create these special editions daily or weekly, depending on strategy and either offer them as a value-add with their ePaper or create new subscription bundles to help drive revenue.
Speak to the PageSuite team to find out more about Edition.
Sources: [source: https://digiday.com/media/athletic-expands-newspapers-roll-sports-subscriptions/]