For the New York Times, turning readers into paid subscribers has helped the company buck industry trends and grow its revenue in the face of steep print advertising declines and an environment in which Google and Facebook capture the lion’s share of new digital advertising.
Here in Arlington, we are fortunate to have a great base of advertisers. Thanks to our advertisers, the ARLnow you see today is sustainable and here to stay.
However, we often hear from readers who want more. More long-form stories, more profiles of local community members doing good works, more investigations into neighborhood issues, more accountability and public-service journalism, etc. We do some of that now, but this kind of reporting takes a lot of time to produce and we are stretched thin as it is.
To do more is not possible for us as an exclusively advertising-supported business. It could be possible, however, if just a percent or two of our current readers are willing to subscribe to read it.
Here’s the idea we’re currently batting around:
- Invest in increased long-form, enterprise and public-service reporting, but make most of it exclusively for subscribers.
- Offer subscriptions for $8/mo or $80/year.
- Beyond more news, include other goodies for subscribers like: a new weekly “insider” email newsletter, access to a private Facebook group with ARLnow staff, a quarterly subscriber happy hour, etc.
So what do you think? Would you be willing to pay a small monthly fee for more news about Arlington?