Converting non-paying readers to subscribers

For more than a decade, news publishers and magazines have searched for the quintessential strategy to transition non-paying readers into paying subscribers. The road has been fraught with missteps, disasters and strategy reversals.

Hard paywalls cut off as much as 95 percent of traffic to websites, rendering them unread and unattractive to advertisers.  Soft paywalls may not result in enough revenue to be worthwhile. The majority of readers vowed never to pay for content.

However, the experimentation is paying off, and many media companies around the world are finally getting traction by implementing their paywall strategies, be they hard, soft, hybrid or membership models. At some media companies, such as the Financial Times, digital subscriptions now exceed that of the newspaper.

According to a growing number of studies, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014, and Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2014, the present and future of paid content is looking positive.

World Newsmedia Network has published Global Digital Media Trendbook each year since 2006. The 2014 trendbook contains 500 data sets and 230 pages of analysis about digital media usage and revenue patterns, including this data set. To download the GDMT free executive summary, go to www.wnmn.org
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