A reader-focused business model with digital subscriptions at the core represents the news industry’s best hope to replace a declining print business model and maintain scalable journalism, according to a new report released today by INMA.

This was the key conclusion from “The Media Subscriptions Blueprint,” a report based on presentations and feedback from the INMA Media Subscriptions Week April 16-19, 2018, in London. 

The strategic report features lessons learned from the INMA Media Subscriptions Study Tour and Summit in London, featuring global case studies and distilling strategic data.
The strategic report features lessons learned from the INMA Media Subscriptions Study Tour and Summit in London, featuring global case studies and distilling strategic data.

INMA members may download the report for free and non-members may order the report by going to www.inma.org/reports.

Across 25 case studies, seven keynote presentations, a 40-question benchmark survey, a town hall, and hundreds of questions and comments from the 230 participants from 33 countries, the INMA summit found the cutting edge on seven broad themes: 

  • Value proposition: While content is often the trigger for a subscriber relationship, publishers must realise that community, cause, and convenience are arguably equally important in the emerging subscription game. 
  • Freemium: The rise of data in media companies provides publishers more options on when and how to lock content. The freemium model is displacing the metered model, which is best for high-quality and high-quantity content ecosystems. 
  • Moving to dynamic: A personalised dynamic model and hybrid freemium/meter models will soon displace simpler models. 
  • Cultural galvaniser: Digital subscriptions are not a task for a department. They work best when there is a clear growth mission and a total-company approach.   
  • Where newsrooms fit: Newsroom participation amid the art and science of content economics helps maximise digital subscription success.
  • Improving retention through engagement: Companies far down the road of digital subscriptions are finding that while there is upside in sales efforts, the next growth wave will be retaining subscribers at a higher rate through tactics that are just now emerging.
  • Authentic voice content: While surveys and best practices point to varying genres that trigger subscriptions, the one commonality no matter a global brand or a community brand is content with an authentic voice.

Beyond a distillation of global best practices, “The Media Subscriptions Blueprint” includes looks at what media companies are doing best in the digital subscription space: The New York Times, Times of London, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Schibsted, NZZ, Fairfax Media, Politiken, BILDPlus, Dennik N, Dagens Nyheter, Helsingin Sanomat, Boston Globe, Amedia, Telegraph Media Group, Immediate Media, Sky Media, The Guardian, and the Financial Times. Presentations by Facebook, Google, Membership Economy author Robbie Kellman Baxter, University of Oxford senior research fellow Grzegorz Piechota, Piano CEO Trevor Kaufmann, and others also are included.