Why participate?


Editors and subscription managers from participating U.S. media companies will be able to use MSEI's data exploration tool to customize usage and revenue data queries in fine detail, and to simulate future revenue scenarios by accessing the aggregated and anonymized data.

Among the essential engagement and subscription topics the ongoing benchmarking project will collect and analyze are:

● Content that drives engagement.
● Content that reduces subscriber engagement.
● User journeys.
● Subscription acquisition levers.
● Predictive modeling for churn.
● Acquisition, churn and lifetime value markers.
● Marketing tactics that assist acquisition and retention.
● Average revenue per user (ARPU).

Participating publishers will receive the following benefits:

● Exclusive and unlimited access to the data exploration tool.
● Anonymized data, untraceable to your company.
● Access to training and tips for maximizing the data exploration tool.
● Regular webinars with subscriber engagement index experts and case studies.
● Exclusive and unlimited access to detailed benchmarking reports with actionable analysis.
● Early access to additional functionality planned for subsequent releases (e.g., content
recommendation systems).

“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.”

“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.”