Media Could Double the Amount of Subscribers in 2018

By Megan Radogna

chart from Activate Inc. showing new subscriber acquisition

War metaphors are common in the way we talk about the attention economy, encapsulated in headlines like: “The battle for consumers’ attention” (The Economist); “The media war for your attention” (Axios); and, recently, “Future of Tech and Media: Waging a War for People’s Time” (The Wall Street Journal).

Like in American Gods or Wonder Woman, it can seem like the forces of good (media companies) and evil (clickbait? Facebook’s algorithm?) are fighting outside of humanity’s awareness or control, even as the outcome directly impacts their fate. But when we don’t really understand the people looking at their screens and picking up their papers—the audience—that’s when we lose their attention.

WSJ’s “Future of Tech and Media” piece covers key findings from Activate about “super users” and subscriptions that highlight the agency and inherent value of consumers in the attention economy. According to Activate’s 2017 Consumer Tech & Media Research report:

43% of Americans subscribing to a top U.S. newspaper or local newspaper are willing to spend more on their current news subscription.

Let’s break down the most important parts of the research, and what it tells us about how we need to think about super users, subscriptions, and the media business in 2018.

Pay attention to the people paying the most attention

Following the 2016 election, many publishers saw a “Trump bump” of digital subscriptions, which may now be waning. As Activate reports, only 1% of people in their analysis were “quite likely” to pay for news in the next year, while 6% were somewhat likely and 9% were ambivalent.

However, the most potential for continued growth lies not only in acquiring new audiences but in engaging and retaining current audiences. Half of the news reading population are potential targets to become subscribers.

chart from Activate showing super users and other news reader segments

23% of news readers are “potential converts” who actively seek out news and are willing to pay for digital media. 27% of news readers are the “super users” who consider news essential. They are likely paying for or donating to news sources, often willing to pay more, and likely to be higher-income consumers.

Activate concludes from their research that “Super Users are in the vanguard of behavior and usage.” Analyzing super user behavior can help publishers forecast trends and plan growth strategies.

The link between super users and potential revenue translates to audio, too. The top 25% of audio listeners are super users with over three hours of daily audio attention. These audio super users account for nearly half of all consumer spend.

chart from Activate on audio super users

Investing in subscription models

Across the media industry, organizations are turning their focus to subscription models. Activate projects that “subscriptions will be the primary revenue model, accounting for over half of consumer Internet and media Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

Be Sociable, Share!