America's Newspapers partners with Medill and Mather on Subscriber Engagement Index project


America’s Newspapers has announced a strategic partnership with Medill and Mather Economics on a new benchmarking project for its members.  The Medill Subscriber Engagement Index offers members the opportunity to develop game-changing, data-driven reader revenue and engagement trends at their fingertips — at no cost for the first year.

The project will kick off with an informational webinar on February 16 at 2 p.m. CST / 3 p.m. EST, detailing the program and best practices in reader engagement.

The webinar will cover the topics of best practices in subscriber acquisition, engagement and retention, and will detail how the project’s data exploration tool will drive actionable insights.


As many news publishers’ revenue models are shifting from advertising to subscription, new tools, data insights and best practices are needed to streamline and accelerate more profitable operations.

This project —  the Medill Subscriber Engagement Index — will launch in March, and publisher onboarding has begun.  

The partnership, led by Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications and Mather Economics, will aggregate and analyze U.S. news media companies’ user behavior and subscription data. 

“Reader revenue is now a cornerstone in the business model for local news,” said Tim Franklin, Medill’s senior associate dean and John M. Mutz Chair in Local News. “What makes this Index so valuable is that it will allow local news outlets to not only measure their own performance with paying readers, but to benchmark against peers across companies around the nation. It also includes a 'What If' tool that uses current subscriber data to predict future financial outcomes of strategic decisions. These insights will empower local news leaders with insights to grow revenue at this pivotal time for the industry.”

Matt Lindsay, president of Mather Economics, said: “Mather Economics is supporting the Medill Subscriber Engagement Index because we believe understanding how subscribers value content is vital to achieving a sustainable business model for local journalism. Mather is fortunate to work with hundreds of newspapers in North America, and we are uniquely positioned to provide Medill with anonymized data from across the industry with the consistency and quality necessary for academic research. We are also able to help publishers act on the insights provided by the SEI platform.”