Digiday recently published an interesting case study about the Dutch publisher, The Correspondent, on how they are managing to add around a thousand new paid members to their subscriber database each month. It is a must-read for any publication in the new digital era, especially those trying to monetise their online space.
The Correspondent publishes around five long-form articles a day (over 2000 words each) from its 20 full-time writers and freelance network. Although they launched in September 2013 with only eight journalists, by last year their team had already grown to 31 members.
For the last few months, they have been publishing one article a week in English, such as “A day in the life of a sniper fighting ISIS,” and “What we give away when we log on to a public Wi-Fi network,” to test the market for international expansion.
It is fascinating to see how simple their business is. Instead of writing daily news, The Correspondent focuses on the readers and building a community around the publication and its journalists. For example, even though they do have a paywall system, they let their subscribers share articles that their peers can read for free.
In addition, much to everyone’s surprise, they have no adverts. The Correspondent makes 90% of its revenue from its 47,000 subscribers, who pay roughly €60 a year, or €6 a month. The other 10% is from book sales, with the profits invested back into the company. With an annual retention rate of 83%, take a look at Digiday’s website to see how The Correspondent is not only attracting readers, but also keeping them.