The latest UK publishing industry subscription figures showed that digital magazine subscription growth is picking up for publishers.
Overall digital edition sales increased 20% in 2021, from around 1.5 million in 2020 to over 2 million last year. But, with the exception of The Economist, the overall numbers are still relatively low.
Take away food
- The Economist hit nearly one million subscribers in 2021, according to ABC’s latest report after posting a 14% increase in global digital circulation. The weekly accounts for almost half of all digital magazine subscriptions audited by ABC in the UK.
- Although nearly all publishers have seen significant growth in digital magazine subscriptions – most in double digits – the combined subscription numbers of the remaining titles in the top ten only represent around a quarter of The Economist’s total subscriptions. . The EMEA edition of Time Magazine is second on the list with an average of less than 38,000 sales per week.
- The success of The Economist’s digital edition is explained by the title’s early introduction of the paywall, blocking access to editorial content archived since 2009. According to its latest ABC audit, its entire digital circulation consists of paid subscribers.
Although major titles from Moneyweek to Men’s Health have a long way to go to catch up with The Economist, publishers see real potential in digital subscriptions.
- Sam Gallimore, chief account officer at Bauer Media in the UK, told Press Gazette the company has a thriving and growing subscription business, with many of its titles “pivoting” to a direct, recurring revenue model. . He confirms the importance of locking content behind a paywall:
Putting magazine content behind a paywall can help expand audience reach and target different consumer groups.
- Separating casual readers from engaged audiences allows the publisher to better understand content consumption patterns and tailor product offerings and pricing. Article collections can be used to introduce a brand to new readers without requiring any commitment. If they engage, the publisher can target them with more content and start selling them a subscription.
Long term value
Jess Burney, managing director of subscriptions at Immediate Media, told Press Gazette that some companies are “just perfect” for subscriptions.
- She explains that if you have a clearly defined customer base that needs or wants your product on a regular basis, and you can cost-effectively deliver your product directly, investing in a subscription model will dramatically increase long-term profitability, cash flow and the business. value.
- She says publishers with special interest content, direct access to interested communities, and transparent digital paywalls are successful. However, building subscription success involves an upfront investment in marketing, customer experience, execution, and technology.
Companies that are data-driven and embrace a test-and-learn culture are setting the bar for best practices.
Digital Newsstand Readly, which works with 1,200 publishers globally, recommends taking a multi-channel approach to subscription development. Content manager Chris Crouchman suggests working with a variety of partners to test the lifetime value of engagement.
Don’t be afraid to try new routes and use the vast amounts of data available.
This article originally appeared in Spiny Trends and is republished with permission. Spiny Trends provides the industry news updates and analysis you need to stay in the know if you run a media and publishing business. Subscribe to a weekly email digest here.