INMA releases report on news subscriptions in the age of coronavirus

To identify key trends in the subscription space

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INMA
“News Subscriptions In the Age of Coronavirus,” part of INMA’s Readers First Initiative, seeks to identify key trends at work in the subscriptions space

How news publishers navigate the unpredictable surge in traffic and subscription starts during the COVID-19 crisis is the focus of a new report released today by the International News Media Association (INMA).

“News Subscriptions In the Age of Coronavirus,” part of INMA’s Readers First Initiative, seeks to identify key trends at work in the subscription space, examine the mechanisms behind both the growth in traffic and reader revenue, and highlight successful strategies from publishers worldwide.

Key findings from the report include

Subscriptions from loyal readers: While there has been an unprecedented surge in news demand and digital subscription starts, those new subscriptions are mostly coming from an existing loyal audience – not new COVID readers.

Audiences not homogenous, need different approaches: News audiences during COVID are not homogenous, displaying a range of behaviours depending on their psychological response to the crisis. Therefore, different content strategies will be needed to move different audiences down the conversion funnel.

Quality journalism demand up: Audiences are demonstrating an appreciation for quality journalism during uncertain times and are willing to pay for it.

Explanatory journalism: Publishers are getting back to the core of what they do best: good, clear, explanatory journalism is what matters

The 46-page report aims to understand the surge in audience demand for COVID-19 news, looking at emerging strategies and tactics: what content is compelling, pop-up newsletters, community content strategies, news avoidance, and more. The report also looks at the demand for subscriptions from the perspective of non-users, anonymous users, known users, and subscribed users. Publishers, meanwhile, are looking to extend the subscription bum, tackling issues like varying subscriber pricing.

The report author is Grzegorz (Greg) Piechota, a researcher-in-residence at INMA and head of the association’s Readers First Initiative. Piechota is an academic researcher, digital transformation consulting, and writer. An ex-fellow at Oxford and Harvard universities, Piechota is a former media executive at Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza.

“News Subscriptions In the Age of Coronavirus” is available for free to INMA members and available to non-members for US$795 – which includes one year of association membership, all strategic reports, Webinars, and access to all INMA content and peer connection tools.

About the Readers First Initiative

The INMA Readers First Initiative aims to surface global best practices in the art and science behind digital subscriptions for news media companies and create a road map toward the next generation of consumer monetization. The initiative produces newsletters, Slack channel interactions, video meet-ups, reports, webinars, and workshops for INMA members worldwide.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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