Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How is the data collected?
A: Subscriber data is provided to Mather Economics by its newspaper clients each week. Mather will anonymize the subscriber account data and combine it with online activity from subscribers. Mather’s Listener™ pixel will capture the subscriber’s online activity.

Q: What can participants do with the aggregated data? 
A: Participating media companies can explore the wealth of anonymized data using the data exploration tool, and can also access regular benchmarking reports for actionable analysis on trends and best practices from other participating media companies across the United States. The data tool will be used by editorial and business-side managers to drill down into detailed, customized and anonymized data to assist in making daily content decisions, building products, understanding user behavior and refining subscription strategies.

Q: Who has access to our company’s data?
A: Only key executives from Medill and Mather will have access to the data from each company, all of which is anonymized. No outside parties will have access to the data, nor will the data be identified with any participating company.

Q: Is there a cost?
A: There is no cost to participate in the first year.

Q: Which companies can participate? 
A: Any news media company in the United States that agrees to provide the subscriber data and place the Listener pixel on their website(s) for the purpose of collecting engagement and subscription benchmarking. For non-U.S. companies, Mather Economics has similar benchmarking projects that media companies can benefit from.

Q: Which companies are participating so far?
A: Dozens of U.S. news media companies have joined the benchmarking project, including Gannett, Hearst, McClatchy's 29 daily newspapers, Tribune Publishing's 10 daily newspapers, the 75 dailies of Lee Enterprises, The Seattle Times, The Denver Post, Tampa Bay Times, Sonoma Media Investments, Newsday, The Dallas Morning News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Spokesman-Review, Bangor Daily News, Anchorage Daily News, Colorado Springs Gazette and The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). More publishers will be announced soon.

“We’re drawn to this tool because it’s going to help us learn from other news companies participating in the index,” said Shannan Bowen, McClatchy’s director of product engagement. "And we’re also excited about trying a tool that anyone in our company can use, from journalists or marketing teams or product teams. All of our different groups are aligned with our mission to grow digital subscriptions and reduce churn.”

To become a media partner, contact Tim Franklin at Medill:

Q: How can I learn more?
A: View a recording of this webinar held for members of America's Newspapers.  View the PowerPoint here.