The Media Minute 06.23.2020

As people stay at home around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, online traffic has surged. People are clicking through mobile and web news alerts at 43% higher rates than they were prior to the crisis, according to my company’s notifications platform, which is used by USA Today, the BBC, and The Wall Street Journal, among many other media outlets.

The UK subscription box market is estimated to be worth £1B by 2022, according to a report for Royal Mail created by GlobalData Consulting. It will be up 72% from 2017. “The business model also presents significant opportunities for international expansion, with our survey revealing that nearly 90% of subscription businesses make at least some of their sales overseas,” it adds.

In figuring out how to wring value from the present surplus of digital events, publishers are using them to collect valuable first-party data that can be used to monetize other parts of their business, ultimately reducing their reliance on third-party cookies.

The coronavirus pandemic has been painful for publishers that have lost advertising revenue. But it has also been an opportunity to promote paid subscriptions. Local newspapers that offered 90-day trial subscriptions for free or at steep discounts need to have a strategy to retain those readers as lockdowns ease and many people get back to their former routines.

Though many independent publishers interviewed by PW last week reported a drop in sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, several said sales are—surprisingly—up for the year, buoyed by strong interest in backlist titles, direct sales to consumers, and enhanced digital initiatives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hundreds of newsrooms to impose massive cuts, layoffs and furloughs—so much that several media organizations have called on Congress to lend crucial financial assistance to the industry.

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