Study: Stricter Paywalls, Email Newsletters Help Boost Paid Subs

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Publishers with stricter paywalls, email newsletters and clearly defined audiences were most likely to boost reader revenue, a survey of more than 500 digital publications found.

Publishers growing their digital subscriptions are outperforming the industry average by a factor of 10, according to the study by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center and the nonprofit Lenfest Institute.

“Digital news consumers will indeed pay for access to high-quality content, particularly when they are presented with compelling, relevant information and marketing messages that inspire deep and ongoing engagement,” the study said.

Subscription sales and paywall fees have become imperative to the survival of publications that have lost readership and advertisers to digital rivals. More than 1,300 U.S. communities have lost local news coverage since 2004, according to the University of North Carolina’s School of Media and Journalism.

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