Subscription Websites are Expanding and Growing

Subscription websites LinkedIn and New York Times expand; WSJ closes Google loophole

Subscription websites can be a profitable endeavor for content publishers.

We begin by looking at The New York Times, which is experiencing growth in regards to its digital audience. Subscription Insider reports, “Last Thursday The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT) posted its fourth quarter financials and full-year 2016 results. There’s good news and bad news. In the fourth quarter, the Times added 276,000 net new digital news subscriptions, its best quarter since 2011 when it began using the digital pay model. For the full year, it added 583,000 net digital-only subscribers. Of that total, 514,000 came from digital news products, while the rest were from the New York Times’ crossword product.”


The report from The New York Times also mentioned company changes. “Among the changes recommended in the report are more engaging, more visual multimedia storytelling; a new approach to features and service journalism; more engagement with readers; expanded training; accelerate the pace of hiring top journalists; more diversity among newsroom staff; reevaluate its relationship with freelancers; and reorganize how the newsroom works.”

Another subscription product making changes comes from LinkedIn. The company shares information on its new LinkedIn Premium. “If you’re a Premium Career member, we’ve added a number of personalized insights to LinkedIn Jobs to help you not only find a job, but the right job, and use your competitive edge to land it.”

The article continues with more on Premium Business option. “If you’re a Premium Business member, the Premium Business Insights feature provides unique and timely data directly on the Company Pages of organizations that interest you. As of last week, we’ve also unveiled an enriched Who’s Viewed My Profile experience, which surfaces data on the particular companies whose employees are viewing your profile. This proprietary information can be valuable to any professional, from the small business owner gathering relevant information on key competitors and market trends, to the investment professional trying to uncover the next “hot” company.”

Finally, we’re looking at  the Wall Street Journal’s subscription website, which is tightening up its paywall. Digiday reports, “Starting Monday, it’s turning off Google’s first-click free feature that let people skirt the Journal’s paywall by cutting and pasting the headline of a story into Google. The Journal tested turning off the feature with 40 percent of its audience last year. But the eye-popping moment was when the Journal turned it for off four sections for two weeks, resulting in a dramatic 86 percent jump in subscriptions. The Journal said the full turnoff is a test, but didn’t say how long it would last.”

“While it’s ending Google first click free for now, which lets subscription publications be indexed by Google search, the Journal is increasing its exposure to new audiences by letting people read for free links that are shared on social media by subscribers and staffers. Since making that change, the Journal has seen a 30 percent boost in traffic from social media, primarily from Facebook. The Journal is treating the social sharing ability like a perk for subscribers, like the other ones they get from a free subscriber membership program that the Journal launched in 2014, WSJ+.”

We’ll continue to keep you updated with news on subscription websites in the future.


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