New Report: Post ‘Trump Bump,’ Readers Continue to Turn to News Publishers for Quality Content

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New Report: Post ‘Trump Bump,’ Readers Continue to Turn to News Publishers for Quality Content

Alliance report finds news publishers are delivering more personalized experiences to keep, attract subscribers

April 8, 2019

Arlington, VA – The News Media Alliance today unveiled a new report for members, What’s Next – Digital Subscriptions: Progress and Potential on the Path to Consumer-Generated Revenue. The report contains the latest stats on how news publishers are working to drive subscriptions to their digital publications.

The report includes insights from audience and engagement and digital subscriptions leaders at some of the largest news publishers in the country, including Gannett, McClatchy, Trib Total Media and Tribune Interactive. Additional perspectives from experts in reader revenue at the American Press Institute and Mather Economics offer tips for news publishers to improve their digital subscription growth and retention efforts.

The report cites 2018 digital subscription stats from major news publications such as The New York Times, Tribune Publishing Company and The Washington Post, among others. Alliance President & CEO David Chavern stated, “It is very encouraging to see the growth our member publishers are experiencing with their digital subscription programs. This further demonstrates that more people than ever are reading our products, and they crave news from trusted sources that are invested in delivering high-quality journalism.”

Alliance Vice President, Innovation & Communications Michael MaLoon stated, “There are clear trends and evidence of news publishers succeeding in converting readers of their digital publications into subscribers. This report highlights what’s working for them, while also looking ahead at what still needs to be done to keep readers happy and ensure that the numbers keep trending upward.”

The report identifies five strategies critical to digital subscription efforts: tightening paywalls; getting to know your audience; rethinking the use of social media; focusing on the basics; and continuous testing. Publishers can leverage this report to learn from the experiences of other Alliance members and explore similar strategies and tactics for growing digital engagement and revenue at their own publications.

“For example, one of our publishers found that tightening their paywall – that is, reducing the amount of content a reader can see before being asked to pay – did not dampen readers’ propensity to subscribe,” MaLoon continued. “But it’s not one size fits all. It’s about understanding your audience and customizing your offering to meet their needs.”

The report includes key industry digital subscription stats; case studies and first-hand accounts from publishers of what is and isn’t working; what strategies publishers are exploring; and insights from the American Press Institute’s research on what motivates readers to subscribe. Key strategies for maintaining positive momentum round out the report.

“What’s Next – Digital Subscriptions: Progress and Potential on the Path to Consumer-Generated Revenue” is available exclusively to News Media Alliance members (login required) on its website at


The News Media Alliance is a nonprofit organization representing more than 2,000 news organizations and their multiplatform businesses in the United States and globally. Alliance members include print, digital and mobile publishers of original news content. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., in Arlington, Va., the association focuses on ensuring the future of news media through communication, research, advocacy and innovation. Information about the News Media Alliance (formerly NAA) can be found at


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