Breakout Session I: The State of Online Subscriptions

Mar 14, 2018, 10:15 AM
11:00 AM
For years we have debated to charge for online or not. Through several case studies on subscription strategies, we’ll look at what works and what doesn’t. We’ll consider open sites vs. meters vs. tight paywalls. Do you really get more impressions as an open site? Is your subscription effort really a strategy, or just wishful thinking? And most importantly, are you really offering customers something worth paying for?

Key Highlights

Types of subscribers:

  • Digital paywall converters – they want unlimited articles
  • Topic hunters – best available news on topic of their interest
  • Locally engaged – they care about their community and want to be engaged, informed
  • Social-mobile – supporting news org after high-quality engagement on digital platforms
  • Friends and family – to support relationships with people, can connect with loved ones through the news, part of social flow of their lives
  • Journalism advocates – accuracy and quality are driving, support a free press
  • Life-changers – just moved or changed jobs and want to be informed
  • Coupon clippers – saving money is drive, less likely to care about news content
  • Print fans – “newspaper habit”, enjoy relaxing with a printed publication
    • Ways to reach
      • Motivated by access to content (special features for subscribers, subscribers-only perks/content)
      • Dynamic meter that adjusts to individuals
      • Tailor messaging to appeal to specific interests
      • Topic-specific newsletters and podcasts
      • Data and participation in civic/local organizations and events
      • Social media for deeper relationship, best/latest content
      • Offers to new residents (life-changers), like a welcome kit
      • Refer a friend program
      • Reader revenue toolkit
      • Prioritize subscription model
    • Resource:
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  • Gwen Vargo

    Gwen  Vargo 

    Director of Reader Revenue, American Press Institute
    Full bio ››