With reader revenue becoming an ever-increasing concern for most news publishers, we are always looking for new case studies that could help others fine-tune their own strategies or create new products and services. These articles represent a selection of some of our most popular stories during the past year.

How subscriber-only newsletters help The New York Times boost retention

The New York Times’ largest and most popular newsletter is The Morning, a free daily briefing with a subscriber base of 16 million. The publisher has around 100 newsletters in all, and they serve a variety of audiences and functions.

“Newsletters can play many different roles,” said Paige Collins, Senior Product Manager at The New York Times. “They can bring people back to the website. They can expose people to all we have to offer, because there is so much The Times is doing every single day that it’s impossible to see it all just from the homepage or social media feed.”

At our Digital Media Europe conference in Vienna, Collins offered an in-depth look at how The Times has adjusted and refined their newsletter strategies over time as they aim to have their newsletters support the company’s overall goals.

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With 700,000 paying subscribers, digital more profitable than print for Argentina’s Clarín

“Clarín is the only Latin American media outlet to be ranked among the top 20 in digital subscribers. We have 700,000 subscribers nowadays, and we are very proud of it,” says Emilio Basavilbaso, Chief Operating Officer at Clarín, Argentina’s largest newspaper.

“Last year, we committed to a new plan to get to a million subscribers in the next three years,” Basavilbaso told participants at WAN-IFRA’s World News Media Congress in Taipei. As part of this plan, they are working to get into other markets, such as the United States.

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Paying for news: price and value under the spotlight

The cost of living has severely affected subscription to online news globally, finds a new report. However, an analysis of the US, UK and German markets shows that while growth is levelling out, there’s hope for publishers willing to match price with value. 

The significance here is that “a vast majority of news consumers (83%) do not currently pay for online news,” and “half or more of those who are not currently paying say nothing could persuade them (65% in the UK, 54% in Germany, and 49% in the US),” states the report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

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How Germany’s Die Zeit boosted conversions by 8 percent in 2022

Die Zeit is a weekly German newspaper and among the most successful European publishers that has explored subscriptions as a revenue stream. Here’s how the company experimented with early retention strategies and fostered routines with its audience.

They’ve managed to do this through intense experimentation across many points in the process, including varying the number of lines of a story a non-subscriber is shown before they get a paywall message.

“This increased trial subscriptions for the funnel in the article by 5 percent, which is really important as that is the main driver of subscriptions on the website,” said Christian Röpke, Chief Digital Officer, ZEIT Verlagsgruppe.

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How Sweden’s Bonnier News amassed 2.2 million subscribers

Bonnier News has long been a major news publishing force in Sweden, but the publisher has been honing its strategies to scale new heights in building a successful digital subscription business.

With more than 200 titles and media brands in 11 countries, Bonnier News is one of the largest media groups in the Nordics. This was not the case seven years ago.

“The newspapers were more like separate companies within a bigger company. We didn’t have that much cooperation,” said Pia Rehnquist, editorial director at Bonnier News Local (pictured).

However, she said this changed when the company introduced four key strategies, all around sustainable profitability.

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How Indian Express doubled-down on key audience loyalties to grow subscriptions

The Indian Express (IE) has been busy transforming its newsroom to a truly digital-first organisation while also taking a hard look at what drives its readers down the funnel and gets them to become subscribers.

“We have all been very focused on growing the top of the funnel,” said Nandagopal Rajan, Editor – New Media & Business Head for Indianexpress.com. “If you want to grow your traffic, grow your users. But that doesn’t really help you from the perspective of pushing users down the funnel.”

Looking at those users who make up the loyal base, one sees quite a different picture, Rajan noted.

“We are looking at a small percentage number when we are looking at the brand lovers,” he said.

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Michael Miller on how NewsCorp Australia has transformed its journalism and business

“What gets measured gets done, what gets measured and fed back gets done well, and what gets rewarded gets repeated.” That guiding principle, as well as doubling down on its purpose and standing up to different disruptions have helped NewsCorp Australia transform its journalism and record its best business result in over a decade, according to Executive Chairman Michael Miller.

Over the past two years, NewsCorp Australia’s total monthly audience has grown from 16.4 million to 18.1 million.

“They are turning to us in record numbers because they trust us. This is our largest audience on record.”

He credits much of this success with the “simple strategy” of better understanding NewsCorp’s audience – and the connection with that audience.

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IDN Media: ‘Our vision is to create a one-stop platform for the young generation of Indonesia’

In just nine years, IDN Media has gone from a start-up founded by two brothers to a conglomerate working far beyond news to include advertising, music and films. And they have even more ambitious goals for the future.

With 80 million monthly unique users, Indonesia’s IDN Media has become the country’s most valuable news source for young audiences by embracing inclusiveness and maximising revenue opportunities, said IDN Media Founder and CEO Winston Utomo, during our World News Media Congress in Taipei.

In Indonesia, 90 percent of media was previously focused on events around Jakarta, the country’s capital, despite the fact that only 10 percent of the country’s 270+ million people live there. Utomo and his brother, William, saw the enormous information gap and launched IDN Media with the aim of delivering a variety of content for all citizens.

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‘In the 21st century, the newsroom is the business’ – Doug Smith on sustaining journalism

Whether new or legacy, independent or not, every news publisher needs solid, practical strategies to remain sustainable in this continuously changing global media landscape. Here’s why Table Stakes Europe architect Doug Smith believes targeted content is the ultimate starting block to transform your operations.

Smith has worked on transformative change across 60 industries. As the architect of Table Stakes and a WAN-IFRA Associate Consultant, he summarised and outlined key elements of his methodology at our Digital Media Africa conference.

The session, ‘What every Strategy should start with (but is often underestimated)’, was aimed at helping newsroom leaders build teams that will seize opportunities, align with audience needs, set objectives, and measure results so they become better at what they do.

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Want to reach younger audiences? Help is likely already working in your newsroom

Ask a major news publisher which new readers they’d most like to reach, and odds are their first response will be “younger audiences.” Younger audiences are the key to the future success of the news industry, but reaching them is a major challenge for many traditional, legacy publishers.

Phoebe Connelly, Director of Next Generation Audiences of The Washington Post, (at right in photo) described the steps they are taking to address this mammoth task.

“The mandate my team has is to help The Post as a whole figure out how we are reaching younger and diverse audiences,” she said.

“We have started that mission in a couple of different ways, but I think key to that is understanding the needs of those audiences. Providing the newsroom – and the business as a whole – with metrics so they can understand where they stand with these audiences: if they are reaching them/not reaching them. And then work across divisions to amplify the great work that is already happening. And then create space for experiments,” Connelly said.

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Main image by eliza28diamonds via pixabay‘s Content License agreement.

The post Ten of our top reader revenue stories from 2023 appeared first on WAN-IFRA.