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Digital Subscriptions: Top Trends & Success Stories: Nancy Lane

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Nancy Lane, president of the Local Media Association, presents her perspective on trends and strategies related to digital subscription growth at The 2018 ROUNDTABLE.

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Digital Subscriptions: Top Trends & Success Stories: Nancy Lane

  1. 1. Digital Subscriptions – Top Trends & Success Stories Presented by Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association LEAP MEDIA ROUNDTABLE VAIL, CO AUGUST 23, 2018
  2. 2. About Local Media Association An umbrella organization that represents ALL local media including newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, directories, online- only news sites, etc. Over 2,800 newspapers/TV stations/radio stations, etc. are members of the organization.
  3. 3. We Are Intensely Focused on Helping Local Media Companies Discover New & Sustainable Business Models
  4. 4. New York Times – Subscription Revenue Far Exceeds Advertising Revenue Source: Recode Media
  5. 5. Paid Content Advertising
  6. 6. “What Best Describes Your Company’s Philosophy When It Comes to Digital Subscriptions?” Nearly 70% of Local Newspapers say it’s a Top 3 Priority Source: Local Media Association Innovation
  7. 7. 5 Trends Are Emerging from the Leaders in Digital Subscriptions: 1. Newsletters are their #1 source for converting digital subscribers 2. They produce content that’s worth paying for (investing heavily in journalism) 3. Data-driven strategies are key to their success (very sophisticated approach) 4. They make investments in the right technology (choosing the right R&D partners) 5. They commit to a hard paywall (readers hit the wall after 2-4 articles)
  8. 8. The Seattle Times: It’s Everyone’s Job to Grow Digital Subscriptions  60% of their revenue comes from audience not advertising  Digital paywall: started at 15; now at 4  Newsletters drive digital subscription conversions  Goal of newsletters – force readers to hit the paywall (20+ links)  25X conversion rate from newsletters vs. Facebook  Incentivizing the newsroom for driving digital subs  They are now #2 in the U.S.
  9. 9. The Seattle Times: Newsletters Driving Conversions  9 newsletters  175,000 subscribers  32% open rate  169 conversions/month
  10. 10. Newsletters – Best Conversion Tool for Many Others  The Washington Post added 4.6 million newsletter subscribers in the past two years and more than tripled their traffic from newsletters.  A registered user is 22 times more likely to subscribe than a non-registered user with The New York Times. Many of those users are newsletter subscribers.  The Wall Street Journal uses 24-hour guest passes and newsletters to convert their best prospects.  GateHouse Media recently announced the creation of a consumer marketing agency that will focus on digital subscriptions. In the ramp-up phase over the past 12-18 months, they have launched 451 newsletters. They sent out 10x as many emails in 2018 as they did in 2017.
  11. 11. Know LTV of every subscriber over the past 8 years (+ the lead source) "Registration wall” to maximize sampling & conversions Nurture prospect & customer journeys Newsletter signups are the top leads source for new starts: Expanded from 5 newsletters to 20 200 newsletter signups per day on-site Personalized newsletter testing San Francisco Chronicle: All about the Consumer Funnel Newsletters: top source for conversions
  12. 12. Companies That Are Winning in the Digital Subscription Space Are Obsessed with Data.  The Wall Street Journal assigns a propensity score to every visitor. “When someone has a high propensity score, we lock down the site,” said Jon Buckley, Director, Digital Subscriber Acquisition & Media.  In order to understand what drives subscriptions, they follow 65 different signals such as visit frequency, number of articles per visit, zip code and device. .
  13. 13. Data-Driven Strategies Are Key to Success  The Seattle Times uses heat maps to plot digital audience vs. content creation by day and hour. They also believe that it’s everyone’s job in the company to grow digital subscriptions.  Recently, they started incentivizing newsroom employees on digital conversions. Anyone else doing this?  The Financial Times segments users into seven different groups based on RTV (recency, frequency, volume) ranging from super fans to disengaged long tail.
  14. 14. Membership Models – Do They Represent The Future?
  15. 15. SF Chronicle Membership: Paired with Subscription
  16. 16. Are We Thinking Big Enough? Are We Thinking Bold Enough? What Would Amazon Do? Final Thoughts…
  17. 17. Disruptors vs. Media Companies…
  18. 18. Do I Have Something Worth Paying For? The top performers have invested heavily in their newsrooms. If you don’t, this strategy isn’t likely to be sustainable.
  19. 19. • 93% of The Washington Post’s subscribers are outside of the DC area. In Boston, more than 50% are outside of the Boston DMA. • The disruptors are developing ad-free subscription models (check out The Athletic). • Our industry doesn’t obsess over UX. To win in this space, we must. “Locking down the site” is not user-friendly language. “Forcing them to hit the paywall” isn’t either. Things That Keep Us Up at Night…
  20. 20. Thank You! Email me at: Nancy.lane@localmedia.org For a FREE copy of the LMA report: Digital Subscriptions – Top 5 Trends

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