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Digital subscription to newspapers

Should digital newspapers raise their subscription fees?

Many in the newspaper business discuss for how long it will be motivated to make print newspapers with digital subscriptions being the growth sector.

Digital-only subscriptions also to local US newspapers will overtake print subscriptions by 2027 at the latest as reading habits continue to shift to digital platforms, consultancy firm Mather Economics says in a forecast. It recommends newspapers to raise prices on digital subscriptions.

However, the digital over-take can be as early as mid-2024 if online subscriptions exceed their historical growth or print shows an even steeper decline, the company says.

It recommends newspapers to develop a strategy to raise prices on digital subscriptions to make up for print losses.

About 21% of total paid subscriptions are currently digital, a yearly increase of 32%, while the remainder are print, according to data Mather has compiled from local newspapers for its quarterly subscription report.

The problem for newspapers is they tend to charge less for their digital product than for print with also starting price for digital subscription considerably lower than for a print subscription.

The company also notes that digital readers tend to be less loyal than print readers. Frequency is also factor. The more often you get the paper, the more loyal reader you become. newspapers must find ways to encourage subscribers to make a daily habit out of reading the news or engaging them in other ways, perhaps with puzzles, quizzes and games, the company says.

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