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The Obvious, & Less Obvious, Positive Impact of Paid Content

Dec 17, 2013
Industry trends

OPALast week, The Online Publishers Association (OPA) – www.online-publishers.org – released a study on the impact of digital content subscriptions on a variety of newspaper and magazine publishers.  The overall findings – that digital subscriptions are positively impacting revenue, attracting younger audiences, garnering valuable consumer data and enhancing ad sales – comes as no surprise to Tinypass.

The research was based on interviews that took place between August and October 2013 with senior executives from Condé Nast, Consumer Reports, The Financial Times, Gannett Community Newspapers, Harvard Business Review, Meredith Corporation, The New York Times, Time, Inc., and The Wall Street Journal.  You can download the full report here: http://tinyp.as/18UpX9s.

The report’s conclusion that the overall effect on business of paid access models is “overwhelmingly positive” is in line with what we are seeing at Tinypass.  Earlier this month we reported that our average client’s revenue increased by 39% over the last quarter – you can see the full post here http://tinyp.as/1jqvXLB.

Perhaps the greatest fear publishers had in limiting access to their content was that it would have a negative impact on their ad sales.  According to both the OPA report, as well as data from Tinypass, these fears are largely unfounded.  The OPA found that the majority of surveyed publishers selling stand-alone advertising in a subscription environment agree that subscription data has given them an edge in advertising sales and contributed to a lift in CPMs.  Saira Stahl, VP, Corporate Strategy at Gannett sums up the impact of paid content on her advertising business thusly:

“We have more data on our consumer demographics that we can share with advertisers. We can show that this is a more valuable audience – more affluent, more digitally oriented. Moreover, we can also offer advertisers more information about what content consumers are interested in.”

While Tinypass is not privy to the advertising revenues of our customers, our customers pageviews, which are a proxy of sorts for their advertising revenue, are up on average nearly 24% since deploying Tinypass.

Ultimately the results of the OPA’s research as well as the results that we are seeing at Tinypass reinforce a trend that we have been tracking for some time now, not only is paid content an emerging revenue model for online publishers, it is also a development that will positively impact the publishing business in ways beyond the immediate dollars that it brings in.