Newspapers in the US are on the decline right now and the entire industry is seeing explosive growth via the digital offerings. The New York Times is the current poster child of implementing a solid paywall strategy and seeing the largest gains. Currently, 20% of all newspaper circulation in the US is now digital.
The entire newspaper industry a slight decline by 0.7%, according to a recent poll by Alliance for Audited Media. The saving grace to most the newspaper industry was The New York Times, which saw a total digital subscriber base of 1,865,318 people. It had recently surpassed the USA Today in terms of the increased visibility of its brand.
The New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal currently lead the entire digital newspaper segment by a long-shot. They all have an active subscription base of at least 1.5 million people. The competition basically evens out at 300,000.
One of the most interesting aspects about the 593 companies that contributed their data was the decreased interest in Replica Editions, due to the preference of using apps. Replicas are basically the digital mirror images of the printed edition. You see local advertising, crossword puzzles, obituaries, and much more. The digital editions, as found in apps, often have a very image and text heavy format, but are designed for tablets and smartphones. This gives readers an inherent advantage over just visiting the website. Some apps allow the newspaper to be read aloud, or give new abilities to edit the font size, font type, or margins.
Newspaper companies are starting to see dividends by making custom versions of their apps for the Kindle Fire, Nook HD, and Blackberry. The main key to digital growth, is making your content accessible, and all three of those companies employ the same tactics.
It seems that the newspaper industry is fairly even, in terms of the current subscriber base. The real growth is digital, and it will be interesting to see if the next six months see continued elevated growth patterns.