Paths to subscription: Why recent subscribers chose to pay for news


In a report that looks at how subscribers contribute to funding the news industry, researchers took a close look at what goes through the minds of consumers when they decide to subscribe to a newspaper and what circumstances lead to consumers doing this. 

These findings have implications that could change business models and place more emphasis on driving revenue from subscriptions rather than advertisements. This means that journalism will need a greater focus on quality of content than ever before. This is where the Media Insight project comes in. Its goal over 18 months of research was to determine what causes readers to subscribe. Their research provides newspapers with many ideas of how to appeal to readers. 

The study surveyed more than 4,100 local news subscribers to ask their motives at the time of their decision to subscribe. Responses led researchers to identify many different reasons that allow readers to subscribe. It also allowed researchers to realize that publishers will need to invest in their newsrooms, which may take a while, in order to create the quality that subscribers demand. They might even have to accept a small margin of profit and take time to appeal to subscribers until the paper is able to remain solvent. 

The study found interesting trends: After consumers subscribe, some of the most important qualities they want their paper to have are accuracy, a willingness to admit mistakes and objectivity. There are many factors that lead people to subscribe such as how interested they are in the news, certain demographic factors such as age, gender and political affiliation, and a desire to be connected to their community. The report breaks down how each factor contributes to subscription rates in its own way.

To read the full report, click here.