Subscriber growth mounts as readers switch to digital

Apr 20, 2020 at 10:10 pm by Staff

Analysis across four regions and three media sectors shows American publishers building subscribers by almost 17 per cent.

Research by MPP Global for the week to April 6 shows an increase of 4.8 per cent, against four per cent the week before and one per cent for the week before that, factoring in new acquisitions and churn. "This is a 960 per cent rate of change in subscriber growth comparing the week ending April 6 and week ending March 16," says the company's Julian Morelis.

Analysis of anonymised subscriber data from sectors including publishers, broadcast OTT and sports OTT across North America, Europe and Japan presented vastly different results for sports against broadcast and publishing verticals, with publishing representing the highest increase in subscribers at 11.9 per cent net between March 9 and April 6, while sports saw net subscriber loss of 3.4 per cent. With live sports not suspended until mid March, a more distinct decline is expected for April. Although the broadcast OTT vertical grew significantly between March 23 and April 6, it started badly with negative growth of 0.9 per cent for the period March 9-23. 

Of the regions analysed, North American media companies increased their subscriber numbers the most with a 16.9 per cent growth rate for the four-week period, while Japan has demonstrated the lowest growth rate at 1.2 per cent, possibly because of different rates of digital subscriber adoption. 

Although a shift in subscriber numbers began during early March, the real impact came during mid-March with a hike in new subscribers as countries around the world went into lock-down. With media companies offering substantial price reductions, there was an increase from 58 per cent to 70 per cent in the number of free first period offers versus paid subscriptions, typically in the region of 54 per cent.

"There will be winners and losers," says Morelis.

MPP Global's clients include Sky, McClatchy, L'Équipe, Bonnier, Daily Mail, NBC Universal, ProSiebenSat.1 and Mainichi.

Sections: Newsmedia industry


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