Global Digital Subscription Snapshot 2023 Q2 now available

Bundles of joy for The New York Times, a special milestone for the Telegraph and a sticky wicket for Disney+ are some of the major publisher talking points in FIPP’s latest Global Digital Subscription Snapshot.

The quarterly Snapshots, exclusive to FIPP members, are the most comprehensive reports on the global digital subscriptions market today and features information on 160 publisher titles from 26 groups as well 39 video and 12 music streaming services.

Download the report here. Not a FIPP member yet? You can sign up via the report page.

For the first time the Snapshot also includes a guest column written by OpenAI’s ChatGPT that looks at how publishers have been using generative AI long before it became a topic de jour in public and corporate discourse.

Casting his eye over the data in his introduction to the latest Snapshot, FIPP President & CEO James Hewes explores the implications of The New York Times, again the top subscription performer, withdrawing permission for the scraping of its content by artificial intelligence tools.

“A paid content strategy stretching over more than 15 years has given the NYT a clear understanding of the value of its content, with revenues for digital subs likely to exceed $1bn this year. In that context, it’s logical not to allow a 3rd party to build an extremely compelling value proposition off the back of that content for free,” he points out.

“The issues around suitable compensation for the intellectual property used by AI developers to train their models remain unresolved, as does the suitability of those tools for use in content creation. What’s less ambiguous is the potential for AI to improve decision-making across product development, sales, and marketing.

“If you accept that an AI tool is essentially a big spreadsheet, with a clever algorithm driving the output of the queries you put, then the ability to dramatically improve data analysis, behaviour prediction, pricing strategy and more is obvious. For smaller publishers, who lack the resources for large human resource in these areas, it promises to be a vital toolset.”

Bundling in the Big Apple

The Snapshot shows that The New York Times has added 180,000 new digital-only subscribers in the 2nd quarter, bringing its total number to 9.19 million. More than half of new subscribers are taking out the full bundle offered by the company, which includes The New York Times, Cooking, Games, Wirecutter and The Athletic.

In the UK, the Barclaycard Consumer Spending report for August showed that consumer spending on digital content and subscriptions bounced back during the month, while the Snapshot also looks at how The Financial Times has rebranded its B2B subscription service to FT Professional and introduced a new subscription model.

It has been a time to celebrate for Caixin Media and the Telegraph Media Group (TMG), who have both reached the 1 million subscriber milestone – the latter well ahead of its target date. TMG have revealed that more than 70% of its subscribers are digital, and the company shared that its app attracts 300,000 daily users.

Clarín has earned the distinction of having the largest base of paid digital users in Latin America following its most recent earnings report, while the Snapshot shows how subscriptions now make up 26% of Apple’s revenue.

Just not cricket

Turning to streaming services, the Snapshot looks at how Disney+ shed 11.7 million subscribers after it lost the rights to show the Indian Premier League cricket in India.

Forbes reported that a big chunk of Disney+ Hotstar subscribers (24%) cancelled and jumped ship to Viacom, which secured the rights for the IPL. Before the losses, India made up about a third of Disney’s total subscriber base.

Meanwhile, big rival Netflix has added more than 5.9 million subscribers in the second quarter, far exceeding the 1.7 million new subscribers analysts expected and doubling the figure the streaming giant themselves projected.

It comes at a time when Netflix has been testing a crackdown on password sharing in smaller markets which requires users to sign up to a premium subscription if they want to continue sharing their account with others.

The company also introduced a feature allowing users to port their profiles to a new account. Since May, their crackdown has been rolled out in larger markets, helping the company sign up an estimated 3.7 new subscribers in June alone.

Download the report here. Not a FIPP member yet? You can sign up via the report page.

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