Zuora, Inc. (NYSE:ZUO), the leading cloud-based subscription management platform provider, announced today that it had helped The Seattle Times surpass 65,000 digital subscribers, a 35% increase from March to June 2020, in the shift away from advertising revenue.
Advertising revenue for newspapers has been on a steady decline for over a decade, declining 62% from 2008 to 2018, according to Pew Research. In response, many newspapers have attempted to replace this lost revenue by increasing their base of paid subscribers, especially in the digital space. The Seattle Times embraced this strategy early on, erecting a paywall in 2013 that enticed readers to become paid subscribers in order to access high quality content.
Founded in 1896, The Seattle Times is a family-owned, daily US newspaper that has the largest circulation in the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region. The challenge the company faced in recent years was that growing the subscriber base required more than a paywall. Traditional newspaper companies like The Seattle Times were built on an advertising revenue model in which the experience of the reader was not prioritized. The Seattle Times realized that in order to achieve their growth goals, they would need to transform their business model to be centered on the needs of the audience.
“Audience-centric media companies have to think and act like eCommerce companies,” explained Curtis Huber, Senior Director, Circulation and Audience Revenue at The Seattle Times. “It’s way beyond just a self-service portal for bills, and payments, and registering complaints. The entire subscription experience has to be intuitive and easy to navigate.”
To build an audience-centric model, The Seattle Times needed data about their audience. Their legacy billing system, which was built around a print model, couldn’t provide the data they needed. It also provided a suboptimal user experience in terms of payment processing and subscription changes.
The Seattle Times partnered with Zuora to implement a digital, cloud-based subscription platform. The Zuora® platform was designed to provide a frictionless subscription experience from sign-up to payments to subscription changes. The new system also gave them access to robust customer data.
Customer data allows The Seattle Times to evaluate every business decision, including editorial choices, based on key engagement metrics. An article’s impact can be assessed based on whether it brought new visitors to the site or increased engagement among already existing subscribers. This data-driven approach helped The Seattle Times surpass more than 65,000 subscribers in the last three months.
“We have data in Zuora’s digital platform that we didn’t have in print. Now we can monetize based on user experience, and our technology investment is directly targeted toward growing our audience,” says Huber.
Read more about The Seattle Times in the company case study here.
About Zuora, Inc.
Zuora provides the leading cloud-based subscription management platform that functions as a system of record for subscription businesses across all industries. Powering the Subscription Economy®, the Zuora platform was architected specifically for dynamic, recurring subscription business models and acts as an intelligent subscription management hub that automates and orchestrates the entire subscription order-to-revenue process seamlessly across billing and revenue recognition. Zuora serves more than 1,000 companies around the world, including Box, Ford, Penske Media Corporation, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Xplornet, and Zoom. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Zuora also operates offices around the world in the U.S., EMEA and APAC. To learn more about the Zuora platform, please visit www.zuora.com.
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SOURCE: Zuora Financial
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including but not limited to statements regarding the expected growth and trends in the global media and publishing sectors, consumer buying trend expectations, the expected growth and trends in the market for subscription businesses, and the expected benefits of any such trends. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements, and actual results could differ materially from those stated or implied in forward-looking statements. This press release also includes market data and certain other statistical information and estimates from industry analysts and/or market research firms. Zuora believes these third party reports to be reputable, but has not independently verified the underlying data sources, methodologies or assumptions. Information that is based on estimates, forecasts, projections, market research or similar methodologies is inherently subject to uncertainties and actual events or circumstances may differ materially from events and circumstances reflected in this information.