Rise of subscription sleepers
Over 43% of digital media subscribers become inactive the day after they subscribe, according to a new report, up from 39% in 2021.
Why it matters: The rise of "subscription sleepers" is a grim signal for digital media companies looking to bolster subscription dollars as the growth in the ad market decelerates.
Driving the news: The new report from Piano, a subscription tech company, finds that a vast majority (90%) of those who disengage after they initially purchase a subscription tend to become inactive soon after they subscribe.
- When they do finally reengage, it's typically to cancel the subscription.
- Subscription sleepers accounted for 30% of active churn (subscription cancellations) among the more than 550 subscription websites Piano measured in the past year.
Between the lines: Under pressure to grow and maintain big subscriber numbers, news companies are trying to make their products more engaging.
- Job postings for the Washington Post, Yahoo News, The Atlantic and Wall Street Journal all reference efforts to create a daily or ongoing "habit" with their readers.
- That strategy has long been championed by the New York Times, which has introduced everything from games to recipes to try to keep subscribers hooked.
What to watch: The report suggests coverage of major breaking news helps publishers reengage sleepers without prompting them to cancel.
- During the beginning of the pandemic, the percentage of subscription sleepers measured across Piano's customer sites dropped by 25%.