US newspaper digital adoption has hit new peaks this year as more adults have been embracing paid content. This October, roughly 166 million adults accessed newspaper content on digital platforms, such as replica editions and dedicated apps. This equated to a 17% increase over the previous year.
The key growth area in digital newspaper consumption is directly attributed to the refinement of mobile and tablet apps. Accessing newspapers on a mobile device has seen an increase of 85% year-on-year during October. This figure should increase further as many media outlets have developed sophisticated app strategies to scale the audience.
We are seeing to see a departure from the paywall strategy that the New York Times pioneered a few years ago and many properties all over the world have been embracing. The problem with paywalls is that it is primarily relevant when accessing the website from a PC and not indicative to a cohesive mobile strategy. Overall, publishers are scrambling to make more money off of digital readers either through paid online strategies or newer advertising mediums like native and branded content.
There are a number of companies that are seeing a massive amount of success in the digital space that have non-conventional business models. Vancouver based Pressreader has been a major player in replica editions and offer access to thousands of local and international papers. Customers pay a flat rate subscription fee for access to PressReader and in exchange receive unlimited access to our entire catalog, including back issues.
Another company seeing success is Netherlands based Blendle, who recently attained three million dollars from the NY Times and and German media giant Axel Springer. The company launched in 2013 and has been billing themselves as the iTunes of news. This has been a hot topic for quite a few years already, and this pay-for-what-you-read model is a huge step forward. The Blendle service has attracted over 130,000 registered users in just over a year, by partnering up with hundreds of news agencies and pay them a percentage of every article that is read. Each news item price is established by the publisher, so the pricing is not consistent, but everything is really cheap.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.