DATA STORY: Led by Nordic countries, more and more people agreeing to pay for news

In a cheering news for the beleaguered news industry, the acceptance of paying for news in a digital medium is increasing across the world. Thanks to their small markets with a strong tradition for reading and subscription, the Nordic countries are leading the charge, according to a report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

About 30 percent of the people in Norway who polled said they paid for news in last one year. This marked a 5 percent year-on-year increase. Similarly, Sweden also registered a 5 percent increase and the share of people who paid for the news was 26 percent.

The Nordic news publishers are using data-driven editorial and marketing strategies to increase their subscription numbers. “Using these techniques, AftenPosten reached 100,000 digital subscribers in December 2017 after just two years,” the report said.

“Norwegian publishers are even able to charge for local news. The Amedia group, which runs about 60 local newspapers and websites, has 160,000 digital subscribers, up 45% on last year. Adjusting for population size, this would be the equivalent of Trinity Mirror in the UK selling 2m digital subscriptions – or 10m for Gannett in the United States.”

Similarly, in Sweden, leading daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) has more than 120,000 digital subscribers, with an average age 20 years younger than the print readership. The company uses predictive data techniques to target likely new subscribers and reduce churn.