The Washington Post is breaking away from Amazon to win new readers

(ETX Daily Up) – Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million. Amazon Prime members took advantage of this takeover by taking advantage of a discounted press subscription. The American media now returns to this exclusive campaign.

Since 2015, Amazon Prime subscribers who want to read the digital edition of the Washington Post have had free access for six months before having to subscribe to a monthly subscription for $3.99 (about 4 euros). It is significantly less than the rest of internet users who have to pay 9.99 dollars (about 10 euros) a month.

That era seems to be over. Amazon Prime members will now see their monthly subscription drop to $7.99 (about $8), according to Nieman Lab. This increase will be effective from the next renewal date of their package. It comes as the Washington Post is losing momentum, after years of profitability.

The US daily would have less than three million digital subscribers, according to the New York Times. His rival has a total of 8.8 million subscribers, of which more than 90% are online. Like the entire newspaper industry, Posten is also facing an erosion of its advertising revenue, as readers are increasingly turning to free content on the internet. They would have fallen to $70 million during the first half of the year, nearly 15% less than in the first half of 2021.

In order to win new readers, Posten launched an innovative digital subscription in June. Its price: 50 dollars (about 51 euros) per year. So far, nothing really original. However, the US daily announced that this amount will remain unchanged … until 2072. “This special offer celebrates the life of the Washington Post and projects far into the future,” said Mike Ribero, head of subscriptions, in a press release cited by Nieman Lab. “It’s an offer that only comes around once in half a century.”

Innovate in the face of “churn”

This new formula aims to expand Posten’s digital audience, while preventing these new readers from quickly canceling their subscription. A phenomenon known in the English-speaking world as “churn” (“attrition rate” in French). This now concerns a large part of the international press, as is evident from a study carried out in 2021 by the media consultancy Mather Economics.

It says the weekly cancellation rate for newspapers is 0.70%, and 0.85% for digital subscriptions. In other words, if a media outlet has 10,000 subscribers, it can expect 85 of them to unsubscribe each week. This represents 4,420 terminations over a year, or nearly half of its subscriber base.

Retaining readers is the top priority for The Washington Post — and Jeff Bezos. The billionaire is clearly committed to the paper’s strategy, as explained by Steve Hills, then managing director of the publication. “He asks us to pay more attention to our readers than to our competitors and to forget those who favor short-term profits. What journalist wouldn’t dream of that?” he told Les Echos in 2015. .

Seven years later, Posten no longer seems to rely on the huge mass of Amazon Prime subscribers to win new readers. Whether this strategy will pay off in the long term remains to be seen.

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