Publishing Subscription

On the hunt for subscriber growth, US publications look abroad

As American publishers get more serious about consumer revenue, more of them have begun looking abroad.

The Atlantic, just a few months into an effort to expand its audience in Canada and the UK, saw its international subscription orders more than triple in 2017, and international subscriptions grew from 6 percent of new subscribers to 16 percent.

Most of the American publishers courting international readers are spending to bolster their editorial coverage of foreign markets. But they are also finding that American affairs, and a unique American perspective, is what’s important to subscribers in these foreign markets.

To keep subscriber growth going, some publishers think subtle, elaborate changes help. Though many news publishers have been wary about personalising their sites too much, Jodi Rudoren, who helps oversee NYT Global, a strategy group focused on growing international audience, sees geotargeted personalization as a major opportunity. The New York Times’s food writer in Australia, for example, created food and wine packages that were seasonally appropriate for its Down Under readers.

The Times is also planning to expand into different languages, albeit in different ways. It publishes small editions in Chinese and Spanish and also recently launched a collection of stories in French. 

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