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Organising for Subscriptions Growth

Report on the Google News Initiative Subscriptions Academy Europe

The GNI Subscriptions Academy Europe is a collaborative effort by the Google News Initiative (GNI), the International News Media Association (INMA) and FT Strategies.

This eight-month programme, the third such edition, is designed to help news publishers strengthen their digital subscriptions capabilities and grow reader revenue at a time of significant disruption to traditional advertising business models.

This report focuses on how publishers should structure their business to maximise the effect of the North Star framework that this cohort of publishers designed and began to implement during the programme. North Star is the strategic framework used by the Financial Times to reach its first million subscribers in 2019 and to continue its string growth in the years since.

The first part of this report, Building an effective subscriptions-focused organisation, explains the four principles of organising for subscriptions growth: empowerment, collaboration, transparency, and being evidence-based. It also gives examples of practical initiatives publishers can launch to adhere to these principles and harness the power of North Star as an accelerator towards an ambitious goal.

The second part of this report, Subscriptions Academy participant approaches, shows how the eight publishers participating in the programme identified ways to grow their reader revenues, began to experiment in these areas, and started to build the governance structures and processes.

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