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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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