World Association of News Publishers

Engaged Readers Don’t Churn – Retention lessons for digital subscriptions

Engaged Readers Don’t Churn – Retention lessons for digital subscriptions


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> The introduction by Cecilia Campbell, Executive Programme Editor, WAN-IFRA, who wrote the report:

Welcome to the Subscription Economy

In this new world, sustainable business growth hinges on how well you develop long-term customer relationships. Once someone is in, you need to have sophisticated strategies for keeping them there. Because the biggest – and most expensive – enemy in the subscription economy is churn.

Compared to developing sales, churn is a considerably more difficult nut to crack but more important for long-term growth.

Indeed, keeping existing customers is a great deal less costly than constantly acquiring new ones. And it’s a top priority for a lot of publishers with a relatively mature digital subscription business. Lessons learned and strategies employed vary, but there is one universal truth: Engaged users don’t churn.

To produce this report, we’ve talked to dozens of publishers about their reader revenue business over the past few years, and interviewed many specifically about retention strategies.

There is a phenomenal amount of work being done across the publishing industry to understand the drivers behind long-term customer retention. There are still more questions than answers it seems.

Still on a learning curve

It was telling that when I talked to Schibsted’s new SVP Consumer Tor Jacobsen at the beginning of the year he said that despite some titles in the group having as many as 15 years experience in reader revenues, the publisher is still on a learning curve and always looking for new ideas.

There may be no clear roadmap to success yet, but best practices are emerging and with them a growing opportunity for a sustainable customer revenue business for news publishers around the world.

We’re in a frenemies industry – use this report to build on the successes of your peers.

Cecilia Campbell has been following the development of digital reader revenue for more than 10 years. She has been in more than 1,000 hours of publisher meetings and workshops, and written hundreds of thousands of words of reports for our eRev group focused on digital subscriptions.

Inside the Report

  • Executive Summary: A 6-step quick guide to retention
  • Insights from 15 publishers thriving with digital subscriptions
  • Honing the value proposition
  • Driving engagement and shifting KPIs
  • Creating content to keep readers
  • Maximising revenue vs. maximising volume
  • Measuring, predicting and preventing churn
  • Organisation – getting everyone onboard

Some of the media companies featured in this report:

  • Aftenposten, Norway
  • Aftonbladet, Sweden
  • Amedia, Norway
  • The Boston Globe, USA
  • Brunswick News, USA
  • Dagens Nyheter, Sweden
  • Le Figaro, France
  • Mittmedia, Sweden
  • Politiken, Denmark
  • Schibsted, Norway / Sweden
  • Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
  • Svenska Dagbladet, Sweden
  • Telegraph, UK
  • The Washington Post, USA
  • Welt, Germany


Cecilia Campbell


Anton Jolkovski's picture

Anton Jolkovski


2018-08-22 14:34

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