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Sept. 8, 2020, 1:24 p.m.
LINK: english.elpais.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Hanaa' Tameez   |   September 8, 2020

Since El País, the newspaper of record in Spain and one of the largest in the Spanish speaking world, launched its subscription program on May 1, 64,200 readers have purchased a digital-only subscription, making it the Spanish publication with the most paid subscribers so far.

El País announced on Monday that it has nearly 110,000 subscribers. Of those, 64,200 are digital-only, 37,923 are print and digital, and 7,842 are to Kiosko y Más, the digital version of the print newspaper. About 20% of those subscribers are from outside of Spain.

As the news industry’s finances have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, the success of El País’ subscription program shows that people are willing to pay for news. El País employs more than 400 journalists around the world and has bureaus in Madrid, Barcelona, Mexico City, Mexico, and São Paulo, Brazil.

The announcement reads, in part:

The current data indicates a promising outlook for the EL PAÍS subscription model, which was launched in May, two months after the pandemic broke out. But it is just the beginning of a long journey. In the United Kingdom, a country with nearly 70 million inhabitants, the British daily The Times reached 100,000 subscribers a year after they began to charge readers — despite having a market as vast as the English-speaking community. The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal have been on this road for more than two decades; and The New York Times, which all news outlets look up to, given its successful business and digital transformation, made a hesitant start in 2011, but did not see a full bloom of its digital subscription model until 2016, when Donald Trump was elected US president. In Spain, the newspaper El Mundo made the first step to a subscriber system at the end of October last year; the communications group Vocento has been progressively moving its local newspapers in this direction for years; and it is expected that the Spanish newspapers Abc and La Vanguardia will also switch to this model soon. The subscription model has also been pursued by some online news outlets, most recently El Confidencial, while elDiario.es has been using this system since it was founded.

Miguel Carvajal, the director of the master’s in journalism innovation program at the University of Miguel Hernández, compiled a list of Spanish publications with paid subscribers and members alongside the years that they launched those programs and the most recent month and year of the data.

ElDiario.es, an online publication in Spain, has 56,000 paying members since it launched in 2012 with a membership program out of the gate. The total number of paid digital subscriptions and memberships, based on the table, is about 347,000. El País accounts for 18% of that, according to Dircomfidencial.

Read the full announcement in English here and in Spanish here.

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