Subscription Website Publishers Start New Membership Initiatives

Major subscription website publishers at The Atlantic, New York Times Co., and CNN are putting more attention into subscribers

We’re seeing some of the biggest subscription website publishers reaping the benefits of new memberships and growing circulations. In fact, we even have a story to share today that involves a new paywall being utilized by one of the biggest media companies yet, CNN.

Our first story looks at CNN and this foray into subscription publishing. Mashable reports, “The news network will launch a paid tier in 2018, marking a significant step for the company’s online efforts. All of CNN’s online content has, up to this point, been offered for free alongside ads.”


“CNN joins a growing group of media outlets that have embraced subscriptions in recent years, moving away from the ad-based model that has been regarded with growing skepticism. ”

The article continues with more details on the subscription website. “Like most online offerings, CNN won’t be going entirely behind a paywall. Instead, the company is working on developing new content, including personality-driven efforts at CNN Money and CNN Politics, in hopes that people will be willing to pony up some dough, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.”

Our next two stories look at subscription website publishers who are growing within the world of subscriptions. The first looks at the digital growth New York Times Co. is experiencing. NY Times reports, “The New York Times Company continued its march toward a digital future in the third quarter of 2017, as strong growth in digital advertising and new online subscriptions helped counteract a further collapse in print advertising.”

“The company said on Wednesday that digital advertising revenue in the quarter rose 11 percent, to $49 million. The company also added 105,000 net digital-only subscriptions for its news product, helping to push digital subscription revenue to $86 million, a 46 percent increase compared with the same period a year ago. Over all, the company said, total revenue increased 6 percent in the quarter, to $386 million.”

The article continues with a look at the total digital subscription numbers for the New York Times Co. “Including subscriptions for its crossword and cooking products, The Times now has nearly 2.5 million digital-only subscriptions.”

Our final story looks at a 160-year old publication and its new expansion into subscription website publishing. The Drum reports, “Known as The Masthead, this offers a wider range of benefits to a (less costly) scheme run by the Guardian which is starting to register significant take-up.”

“For $120 a year (or $12 a month), The Masthead members get a package that includes a free subscription to the print magazine, monthly long-read digital articles not published elsewhere, a daily email from the newsroom, and access to weekly conference calls with staff writers and to a private Facebook-hosted debating forum.”

The article continues by discussing the types of initial members the site is experiencing. “Early members of The Masthead are regarded as “big brand fans”, a subset of the wider audience, and are already developing a close relationship with the magazine’s journalists. Some of The Masthead’s first long reads, examining themes such as the art of persuasion in the social media age, or the difficulties of some US-resident students in taking up offers from Ivy League colleges because of tightened immigration rules, were prompted by member suggestions and tips.”

Subscription website publishers can gain significantly by having a robust subscription model in place. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you increase your audience, revenue and profits, please reach out to schedule a no obligation chat with Don Nicholas, our Founder, Chairman & CEO.


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