The newspaper industry generated $10.4 billion in circulation revenue last year and saw big gains in digital revenue growth from online subscriptions, according to a new report by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). While there was still a decline in newspaper revenue of 2% over 2011, that decline was not as steep as previous years (2010-2011 saw a decline of 6%). I
The most optimistic news, however, was that HUGE growth in online subscriptions. Digital-only subscription revenue grew 275% while print and digital bundled subscription revenue grew 499%. At the same time, print-only subscription revenue declined 14%.
This data confirms what we’ve seen for many years now — online subscriptions can be a significant portion of company revenues. But they can’t be the sole source of revenues. The NAA report found that revenue sources have changed dramatically for newspaper: “circulation now makes up 27% of total newspaper media revenue, new revenue sources 8%, digital advertising 11%, niche publishing and direct marketing 8%, and print advertising 46%,” according to the report.
This data supports the findings of the 2013 Online Subscription Benchmark Report, which found that most news sites are getting a 3%-5% conversion for free visitor to paying subscriber (the industry average was closer to 1%, indicating that news sites may be better positioned to convert subscribers that previously thought). However, most of these conversion rates assume a metered paywall, that allow for some free access without payment.
In addition, the large majority of news sites that we observed for the 2013 Online Subscription Benchmark Report had bundled subscription offers.
But bundling can also undermine revenues, and there are reasons to unbundle or charge more for more bundle options. To learn what would work best for your news site — including what alternate revenue sources you can count on — buy the 2013 Online Subscription Benchmark Report today. Or, attend Subscription Site Summit this May 8-9th in New York City, where The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor and other successful subscription websites will be presenting their best practices and lessons learned. You’ll definitely walk away with tons of ideas from both these resources.