The Australian is celebrating a decade since it became the first general newspaper in Australia to launch its digital subscription model, marking the beginning of a new economic model for Australian newspapers.
Since launching, digital subscriptions have grown to represent a majority of The Australian’s total reach, paid audience and consumer revenue. In 10 years of digital subscriptions, The Australian’s total digital audience has nearly doubled, up 95 per cent.
The Australian’s editor-in-chief Christopher Dore, said: “The Australian has led the way for digital subscriptions in this country. Our success in building our subscribers is in no small part a result of our team embracing new forms of digital storytelling.
“From outstanding investigative news podcasts, through to website improvements designed to place our award-winning journalism at the centre of the experience, we will continue to explore new ways of telling stories to bring the very best journalism to our subscribers.”
The way subscribers engage with news has changed markedly, along with the technology available. In the early years, The Australian’s desktop readership made up 54 per cent of all digital readership. This has transitioned to apps, both mobile at 39 per cent and tablet at 33 per cent, now being the leading way for subscribers to consume The Australian.
Early adopters of The Australian digital subscriptions were an older male c-suite audience with 59 per cent over the age of 55.
Now reaching a broader demographic of readers and a younger audience, today’s subscriber is more reflective of the Australian population with 32 per cent aged over 55 and 30 per cent under 35. Subscribers to The Australian are nearly three times more likely than the Australian population to be a c-suite.
The Australian’s managing director, Nicholas Gray, said: “Every year we have grown paid digital subscribers and revenues in double digits, with our recent growth driven by our journalists’ high-quality coverage of the most significant news events of our lifetime.
“Added to this we have seen new innovations in storytelling and new channel growth.
“Introducing digital subscriptions opened up a new and important revenue stream for the business and gave us a closer relationship with our loyal and engaged readers.
“This has been necessary for us to grow given the well-documented trends for printed newspapers and digital display advertising, and the increasing competition from the tech platforms and a diverse set of digital competitors.
“We’ve had a decade of normalisation of media subscription services with the market changing rapidly during this time. We know that digital subscriptions and licensing are the future for premium news brands like The Australian.”
The Australian’s general manager consumer, Alice Bradbury, said: “Our approach to subscriptions is to ensure that we meet our subscribers where they are today. That means bringing our journalism to life across our newspaper, website, app and social channels.
“The Australian’s brand position ‘For the Informed Australian’ both describes the attitude, and behaviour of our smart, curious, engaged subscribers, and also underpins the decisions we make as a business.
“We’ve invested in our brand and drive subscription growth by introducing The Australian’s great journalism to new audiences.
“We’ll continue to test new channels, use AI and personalisation to reach new audiences and deliver the best digital news experience.
“Our next-generation subscriber strategy continues to show growth and we have exciting plans on the horizon for this audience.”
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