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Roadmap to Success: GNI Subscriptions Lab Aims to Help Find a Sustainable Business Model for Local News

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Roadmap to Success: GNI Subscriptions Lab Aims to Help Find a Sustainable Business Model for Local News

Article excerpt

What if news publishers could track a digital subscriber's journey from start to finish? That's what a recent report published by Google News Initiative (GNI), FTI Consulting and Local Media Association (LMA) has made possible.

The "Critical Publisher Benchmarks for Digital Subscription Success" report released in August highlighted 10 subscriptions metrics. For each key performance indicator, a metric was defined, where it existed within the subscriptions journey and why it was important. The report also identified each publisher's digital subscription maturity stage through six benchmarks: traffic, subscriber engagement, conversion, email newsletters, financials and user experience.

The report was the first of three to be published by the GNI Subscriptions Lab, a nine-month-long, intensive cohort-based strategy and enablement program for 10 news publishers in the U.S. and Canada. Participants include the Baltimore Sun, Buffalo News, Columbus Dispatch, El Nuevo Dia, Houston Chronicle, Idaho Press, Portland Press Herald, Post and Courier, Southeast Missourian and Toronto Star.

"(The Lab) is really about forming this cross functional collaborative group that we can learn from," said Ben Monnie, director of global partnerships solutions for news at Google. "Not just LMA and Google but also from the participating publishers to really move the needle."

The data collected for the first report ranged from January 2018 to March 2019. Monnie and Pete Doucette, managing director for FTI Consulting, explained that they were able to collect data from many publishers using Google Analytics but they also relied on some of their existing data. …

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