3 Subscription Websites Seeing Major Growth

The Atlantic and Washington Post seeing growth for their subscription websites; Time Inc. turns towards a paid option

Subscription websites can be a major revenue stream for savvy digital publishers. Today we’re looking at some examples of this from major publishers.

We begin with The Atlantic, a subscription website publisher who is experiencing significant growth with its membership program. Digiday reports, “The Masthead has grown the program gradually, testing it with a small beta group of 250 before opening it up to subscribers for $100 a year. This week, membership was opened to everyone, at a price of $120 a year. Starting narrow has enabled The Atlantic to isolate the feedback of its most devoted readers. It’s been testing different content formats in email to the group and asked recipients to grade them on a scale of one to five.”


The article continues with a look at the numbers over the past month. “After one month, The Atlantic said membership is in “the thousands,” and as time goes on, it’ll have meaningful data about metrics like email open rates, engagement with different types of content and renewal rates.”

“Where the growth will level off remains to be seen. According to media analyst Ken Doctor, at most, 1 or 2 percent of a publication’s monthly unique audience will pay for a digital subscription. Two percent of The Atlantic’s digital audience, based on its May peak of 42.3 million, is 846,000. Conversion in the 3 to 8 percent range is possible for media companies with well-designed subscription offers and well-executed plans”

Our next story looks at another major publisher experience growth, and these statistics are even more favorable than the ones we saw with The Atlantic. The Washington Post is this publisher, and CNN Media is reporting on the findings. “The Washington Post is marking a milestone in its transition from being a local print newspaper to a national news website.”

“According to The Journal‘s most recent count, through June, it has 1.27 million digital subscribers.”

This is an impressive statistics for the subscription publisher, and the article continues by differentiating between subscribers who are purely digital and those who are print/digital subscribers. “The news organizations like to point out that lots of other subscribers pay for the print edition and get digital access on top of that. But digital-only subscriptions are the primary area of growth.”

Our final story looks at the foray into subscription websites for Time Inc. MediaPost reports, “The nation’s largest magazine publisher is moving deeper into ecommerce and consumer products marketing. Time Inc. is launching a new discount membership program, “People Perks,” based on the People brand.”

“The paid membership program will give consumers discounts on products and services spanning categories such as entertainment, style, food, beauty, travel, pet care and home.”

The article continues with the direction Time Inc. is going for its promotion of this newly-created membership program. “Time Inc. will promote the new membership service across its direct customer base, which includes 30 million subscribers and 127 million unique visitors per month.”

Do you see subscription websites as the answer to your publishing needs? If so, set up a time to chat with us. Our vast experience with developing subscription websites for hundreds of media brands has resulted in the creation of successful online businesses.


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