Hybrid Subscribers Accelerating Growth in e-Editions

By: E&P Staff The 2007 Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX report gave some cause for optimism in the newspaper industry, thanks largely to the acceleration of hybrid subscriptions, Newspapers & Technology reports in its July issue.

According to the ABC, a hybrid subscription is "one where a newspaper offers a consumer a single subscription, but some days of the week the subscription is delivered via an electronic edition, while the remaining days of the week are delivered in print." The result of this type of subscription is that electronic edition readership numbers are up, and the print editions are benefiting as well.

Included in the report was a list of the top 25 electronic edition
newspapers; the top five were The Wall Street Journal, Investor?s Business Daily, The Register, (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, and The Denver Post. According to Newspapers & Technology, the first two papers require paid subscriptions for online access, while the latter three "reported double- to-triple-digit jumps in e-edition figures from March 2006."

Several software programs have jumped to the head of the pack with the advancement of hybrid newspaper subscriptions. The Register and the Denver Newspaper Agency both use Olive Software Inc.?s ActivePaper software for their electronic editions. Newspapers & Technology also mentions a program called NewspaperDirect, which is an XML extractor technology that includes PDF, translation, and blogging capabilities.

The ABC has several rules about hybrid subscriptions. They include:

-When newspapers offer a hybrid subscription to its readers, no less than 25 percent of basic prices must be collected for the frequency being delivered.

-A ?hybrid frequency? may not be established for the purpose of basic
prices. Only one set of home-delivery basic prices for a seven-day frequency may be established and at least 25 percent of these prices must be collected for all seven-day subscriptions regardless if they are print only, electronic only or a hybrid.

-The newspaper may not position any days of the week as free, no additional cost, no extra charge, or other synonymous language.

-If premiums are offered with a hybrid subscription, then the premium rule applies, which requires collection of a qualifying price for the newspaper.


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