Our last report in April 2020 was released just as lockdowns were rapidly being introduced globally. Video streaming services were the clear winners in the early days of the pandemic as consumers shifted both their expenditure and leisure time towards video content.
But, the start of the pandemic also saw a huge shift in interested for news sites as people sought out high quality, trusted journalism to stay abreast of developments, globally, nationally and locally. The April edition highlighted surging traffic levels to news websites, and in particular, to local and regional news providers as users sought out reliable information about the impact of the Coronavirus on their local communities.
Our research for this data update found that in many cases, regional publishers have enjoyed some incredible gains in the last few months. Tribune Publishing, with its large network of local and regional news outlets, saw a 293 per cent increase in digital subscription sales in March alone.
What’s New in Publishing reported in June that news subscriptions overall had grown by 110 per cent in three months. And whilst brands like the New York Times continued to deliver stellar growth and is now boasting over five million digital-only subscribers, Press Gazette highlighted the growth of regional titles like the LA Times which increased subscriber numbers by more than 80 per cent.
Such reports will come as welcome news for publishers who have doubled down on investment to increase reader revenue. But, among the positive headlines for digital growth, there is also sombre reading on how the coronavirus has accelerated advertising and print revenue declines for publishers. Be sure to keep an eye out for our next full report in September where we will be taking a thorns and all deep dive into how the Coronavirus pandemic has shaped the world of subscription-based reader revenue and the publisher landscape.