What makes people subscribe to a news outlet? Here’s why

By Al Cross, Director
Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues

One point we hope our bumper sticker makes is that all news media must get more of their revenue from the audience, since strategic-media advertising is moving to social media. But how do news outlets get people to subscribe? A new analysis of people who do subscribe should help.

“Paths to Subscription: Why Recent Subscribers Chose to Pay for News,” is a report by the American Press Institute, based on research by APIThe Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It identifies nine distinct “paths to subscriptions” and is “about print and digital subscribers alike, and the triggers and promotions that may move them to click ‘subscribe’ or ‘join’.” says the California Newspapers Association Bulletin. API Executive Director Tom Rosenstiel will, discuss the report at the CNPA meeting April 13.

The report “also defines why they might go away when a promotion term ends, or a paywall ticker hits the end point, or they’re being a good customer but are still bombarded with come-ons and unwanted features,” CNPA reports. “It requires getting very serious about your data,” Rosenstiel says.

We have another version of the bumper sticker, with an additional line: “to independent journalism.” If you want one, email al.cross@uky.edu.

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