New Report Shows How Local News Organizations Are Growing by Going Digital

Many people have been commenting on the impending demise of local news organizations who were ostensibly going to get swallowed up by much larger companies who are looking to expand their reach and influence. In spite of the fact that this is the case, local news agencies have managed to hold their own, and one of the many tactics they are using to fight off the rising tide of global corporate news conglomerates involves them offering digital subscriptions.

The Medill Subscriber Engagement Index surveyed 8 local daily news publications centered in major metropolitan areas. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that six out of these eight companies have shown a massive year over year increase in the number of subscriptions they are receiving.

Direct subscriptions can greatly benefit local news agencies because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up allowing them to get their news directly to the consumer without relying on any third parties. It also helps consumers get their local news fix in an easy and consumable manner, and it also provides a vital source of revenue for the aforementioned local news services.

Unique visitors have been declining for local news sites, and paid subscriptions can help them to keep going for longer than might have been the case otherwise in the wake of this decrease. Approximately 20% of users said that they are willing to pay for quality news coverage according to a recent survey conducted by Reuters. That might shift the balance in favor of quality as opposed to quantity.

Switching to paid subscriptions instead of blindly driving up traffic can make local news provision more sustainable in the long run. If even 2% of readers subscribe to a local news service by paying a monthly fee, this can greatly stabilize the industry and help it fend off aggressive acquisition attempts. Subscription based businesses are on the rise, and it will be interesting to see where local news ends up fitting into all of this.

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