Paid digital subscriptions continue to rise in 2020

Data from Zuora’s Subscription Economy Index retrieved from Poynter shows that subscriptions continue to rise in 2020. While this is good news for the Newspaper and Publishing industry, the report also reveals that advertisements continue to decline, at a faster rate than ever before. The report goes on to recommend that publishers should immediately begin using digital subscriptions, if they are not already doing so.

A couple of key findings from this report are: subscription revenue has been rising at a steady pace for years, and advertising in most industries has remained stagnant or has decreased during this same span of time, with newspapers facing a sharper decline than social media and television advertising. On a positive note, churn (the loss of previous subscribers) in Publishing has not gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The smaller portion of users that did not renew their subscriptions was offset with a higher-than-usual percentage of respondents that continued to pay in order to stay informed on news regarding the pandemic.

“To avoid churn and demonstrate value to customers, smaller or niche publications might consider creative packaging or bundling; for instance, Bloomberg Media’s recent announcement to partner with The Athletic” the report goes on to recommend.

The lack of churn among news platforms in 2020 is likely related to the growing concerns about false information amid the COVID-19 pandemic, where reliable news sources are growing in demand. In a study conducted by Totum Research on behalf of News Media Canada, it was revealed that Canadians view newspapers as providing impartial and believable information, and as coming from reliable sources. In addition, despite the industry’s steep advertising decline, advertisements in print newspapers were actually deemed most trustworthy by respondents, scoring almost two times higher than other platforms such as magazines or social media sources.

To read more about Poynter’s article based on the Subscription Economy Index, click here, and to download the full report, click here. To learn more about News Media Canada’s Engaged and Connected study, click here.