Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Paying for Digital News: The rapid adoption and current landscape of digital subscriptions at U.S. newspapers
Among the study’s findings:
  • 78% of U.S. newspapers with circulations over 50,000 are using a digital subscription model
  • More specifically, 63% of the newspapers are using a metered model, 12% are using a freemium model, and 3% are using a hard model
  • The average weekly price of a digital subscription for newspapers varies by type of model: $2.97 for meters; $3.52 for freemium; and $4.43 hard models
  • The median number of free articles allowed by a metered model is 10 a month
  • Digital subscription plans are relatively less common at the largest papers. (86% of newspapers with a daily circulation between 50-100k use a digital subscription plan; 64% of the newspapers with circulations over 250k do so.)
  • Meter models are most prevalent in the Southeast (83%) and least common in the Southwest (45%)
  • Freemium models are 3 times more popular in the Southwest (36% of newspapers) than in any other region
  • Newspapers in the Northeast and Central United States tend to have higher digital subscription prices than those in other regions
  • Publishers seem divided on whether to charge extra to add Sunday print delivery to a digital subscription: 37 newspapers charged more for that, 25 newspapers charged less, and 13 newspapers charged the same price
  • When registering, new digital subscribers are not asked to provide information about their interests or demographics at any of the 77 newspapers with subscriptions
  • Innovative experiments include “survey walls,” the “public radio funding model,” micropayments, the Washington Post’s partner program, and “iTunes for news.”

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