28 April 2022
ANTWERP (26 APRIL 2022) – The International News Media Association (INMA), Google, and FT Strategies today kicked off the third edition of the Google News Initiative (GNI) Subscriptions Academy for Europe (previously Subscriptions Lab), an ambitious and intensive eight-month programme that will address every step of the digital subscriptions process, from discovery to conversion to retention.
The programme is designed to strengthen and accelerate growth of the subscription businesses and help publishers deliver customised plans such as optimising the sales funnel and developing new monetisation strategies.
Building on the success of last year’s edition, the 2022 programme attracted applicants from publishers in 22 European countries. The eight participants that have been selected following a rigorous selection process are:
- Handelszeitung (Ringier Axel Springer), Switzerland
- Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (INFOR PL SA), Poland
- The Irish Times (Irish Times DAC), Ireland
- La Repubblica (GEDI SRL) Italy
- Observador (Observador On Time), Portugal
- Der Spiegel (Spiegel-Verlag) Germany
- Hamburger Abendblatt (Funkemedien), Germany
- Jutarnji list (Hanza Media), Croatia
The selection panel focused on ensuring that the final cohort of eight publishers represented a broad cross-section of the industry: a mix of local, regional, and national focus; a range of sizes of publisher; and participants at different stages of their subscriptions journey.
This exciting cohort of publishers helps to spread the Academy’s benefits across the European publishing landscape. In Switzerland, Italy, and Croatia, the programme is working in three new countries it has not served before. Building on 2021, Subs Academy also welcomes another weekly publication and two specialist business titles.
This programme will engage the selected group of eight European publishers in a journey that will help them accelerate their reader revenue growth. The programme draws on the expertise of each of its delivery partners: expertise from INMA’s Readers First Initiative, the analytical tools developed by GNI, and FT Strategies consulting on the “North Star” methodology used by the Financial Times to acquire more than one million digital subscribers.
“The Google News Initiative Subscriptions Academy is a valued contributor to European publishers’ evolution, and INMA is pleased to partner on this third annual class with GNI and FT Strategies,” said Earl J. Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA. “During the past three years of INMA’s Readers First Initiative, news media publishers who are INMA members, on average, doubled their subscription base. At the same time, some brands grew faster – the 25% best-performing brands grew their digital subscriber base 7.5 times and revenue 3.2 times faster than the bottom 50%. The fastest-growing brands have built an engine for growth. This includes culture, strategy, structure, and workflows. In this year’s academy, we will share the best practices from the INMA network aiming at accelerating the transformation of the selected companies.”
Sulina Connal, director, news and publishing partnerships, EMEA, for Google, said: “We are committed to supporting the future of news publishing and are so pleased to be extending our partnership with FT Strategies and INMA to bring you the third round of GNI Subscriptions Academy for Europe. The programme will enable participating publishers to learn the mechanisms to strengthen their digital subscriptions capabilities and grow reader revenue.”
Tara Lajumoke, managing director of FT Strategies, commented: “We’re proud that 16 publishers from 11 different countries have now participated in Subs Academy. All have consistently rated the experience very highly and enjoyed strong reader revenue results following the programme - including 31% subscriptions growth for our 2020 cohort one year on. Much has changed in the industry over the past two years, but the importance of capturing the reader revenue opportunity has remained a pressing constant. This programme remains a proven way to execute an in-depth diagnostic of subscriptions performance and lay the foundations for the organisational transformation required by news publishers to achieve meaningful change.”
For further reading, please refer to the summary report of previous editions:
- Towards your North Star: Report on the outcomes of the European GNI Subscriptions Lab 2020.
- The Art and Science of Experimentation for Growth: Report on the outcomes of the European GNI Subscriptions Lab 2021
The International News Media Association (INMA)is a global community of market-leading news media companies reinventing how they engage audiences and grow revenue. The INMA community consists of nearly 20,000 members at 900+ news media companies in 83 countries. INMA is the news media industry’s foremost ideas-sharing network with members connected via conferences, reports, Webinars, virtual meetings, an unparalleled archive of best practises, and strategic initiatives focused on digital subscriptions, smart data, product, advertising, and newsrooms.
About Google News Initiative and Digital Growth Programme
The Subscriptions Academy is a part of the Google News Initiative’s (GNI) Digital Growth Programme, which was created to provide European news publishers with training and other resources to grow their digital business. The Google News Initiative represents Google’s largest-ever effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Through its partnerships, programs and products, the Google News Initiative works with thousands of organisations worldwide to support quality independent journalism, financial sustainability, and development of new technologies that drive innovation. Google allocated US$300 million over three years to energise these collaborations, and to lay the foundation for new products and programs for a diverse set of news publishers, to benefit the entire ecosystem. This includes supporting thought leadership on topics like consumer revenue, advertising, and data that are critical to the future of the news industry.
About FT Strategies
FT Strategies is the digital growth consultancy from the Financial Times, providing the expert insight, integrity and consulting excellence required to transform its clients’ future based on real world, first-hand experience. FT Strategies empowers your ambitions by delivering a sustainable growth strategy, built upon leading-edge capabilities that improve your customer engagement, retention, revenues and profit. Staffed by the experts who successfully transformed the FT’s business model in the face of disruption, FT Strategies works with other organisations worldwide from a wide range of sectors, helping them grow their digital revenue, increase customer engagement and future-proof their businesses. The firm has deep expertise in reader revenue, customer engagement, and analytics, enabling companies to build profitable digital relationships with their audiences, thrive in the new digital economy, and future-proof their business.