What’s Happening:

Hub, a company that helps news publishers build financial sustainability, has analyzed its client revenue data each year since its launch in 2016. This year’s review has provided the most sophisticated data yet, and revealed insights into one clear finding: the biggest factors that impact revenue are the organization’s brand and audience.

Why it Matters:

Hub’s data-driven analyses dig deep into broad trends of client performance, audience and donor habits, and the overall cause of journalism. Other significant findings in this year’s report include significant revenue increases for first-year Hub clients, a strong connection between email list size and member revenue, strong support for nonprofits, and more.

Digging Deeper:

Hub’s analysis gleaned a few major takeaways:

  • Hub increased revenue for clients across the board, an average of more than $46,000. Publishers that already had some sort of reader revenue program before joining the News Revenue Hub earned 74% more in their first year with the Hub than in the year before they joined.
  • While email list size is the main indicator of membership revenue, members understand and support smaller local outlets. Across local newsrooms, each additional 100 subscribers converted to an additional $102/month in revenue (compared to all clients, where each additional 100 subscribers is associated with an additional $9/month in earnings).
  • Not surprisingly, Hub also found a correlation between web traffic and member revenue, and this was most significant for local and regional newsrooms, where each additional 10,000 average monthly site users is associated with an additional $300/month in revenue.
  • Nonprofits earned almost $175,000 more member revenue on average than their for-profit counterparts, though Hub noted that the data in this area was limited.
  • There is a strong association between market median income and member revenue. For nonprofits, each additional $1,000 in market median income is associated with an additional $415/month in revenue.

The Bottom Line:

“The Hub helps them put a technology infrastructure in place to run more sophisticated campaigns more often and to optimize how they ask readers for financial support,” said Rebecca Quarls, the Hub’s director of data and strategy.

Quarls added that Hub research suggests that actively working to convert site users to newsletter subscribers has a downstream impact on revenue. The payoff is even bigger for local newsrooms that aggressively pursue subscribers and build reader-first newsletter products.

“We know through our work that people will support journalism if you ask,” Quarls said.

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