Press Release: GNI LATAM Subscriptions Lab Report

Mexico City | July 7, 2021

WAN-IFRA Press Release



WAN-IFRA, the Google News Initiative and Mather Economics launched today the Google News Initiative Latin America Subscriptions Report, a summary of key takeaways, insights and results from the GNI Latin America Subscriptions Lab. 

The cohort featured a diverse group of news businesses, including digital startups and established national news organizations. The Lab was an 18-month, cohort-based effort to bring digital subscriptions best practices and approaches used by publishers around the world to eight Latin American news organizations: Nexo Jornal (BR), Reforma (MX), Estadao (BR), El Espectador (CO), Fohla de Sao Paolo (BR), Estado de Minas (BR), Clarin (AR), and LA NACION (AR). 


“The publication of the report is extremely timely and relevant as the interest in reader revenue models continues to grow amongst Latin American news media companies,” said Rodrigo Bonilla, Director for the Americas at WAN-IFRA. “The report will be an extremely valuable tool not only to news companies about to embark on a paid content strategy, but also to those with more robust paywall models wishing to benchmark their acquisition and retention tactics.”    


From elections and civil and social unrest to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Latin American news industry went through a defining period over the last couple of years. The report documents main learnings during this defining period for the region’s news industry and puts together a set of recommendations from successful digital subscriptions models around the world.


“Reader revenue — and digital subscriptions, in particular — can be a part of the long-term solution for sustainability across the news industry. But it’s still an emerging discipline, particularly in Latin America, and there’s still a lot to learn for all of us. Over the past two years, the Latin America Subscriptions Lab has produced so many sharp insights on factors that can help news organizations be successful. I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to share those learnings more broadly through this report and hopeful it’ll help make the subscriptions journey a little easier for news organizations across the world,” said Arun Venkataraman, Co-lead of the Digital Growth Program at the Google News Initiative.


By making the recommended changes to their digital subscription practices, the participating companies collectively generated nearly $7.2 million in incremental subscription revenue — equating to $30 million 5-year lifetime value forecast — over the Lab’s 18 months. The A/B tests recommended by the Mather team collectively generated $1.9 million, equating to ~$10 million in 5-year lifetime value from new subscriber starts and retention savings.


“We are grateful for the participation of the LATAM news publishers in the GNI Subscription Lab. Together we learned a tremendous amount about developing a sustainable digital subscription revenue business. The insights from this Subs Lab are relevant to news publishers everywhere in the world and at different stages of digital transformation, and we are excited to share the findings in this report,” said Matt Lindsay, President of Mather Economics.


The GNI LATAM Subscriptions Lab generated the following takeaways, with implications for publishers everywhere:


  1. When a reader consumes content across multiple topics, they are more likely to subscribe
  2. Less than half of all digital content newsrooms produced was consumed by readers who became subscribers
  3. The value proposition for subscribers in Latin America often extends beyond journalism (i.e., discounts and coupons on goods and services)
  4. There are diminishing returns on propensity to subscribe from increasing visit frequency
  5. Growing the number of known users increases subscription propensity significantly
  6. Publishers, generally, should adopt more restrictive paywall strategies than they do currently
  7. The risk of losing advertising revenue by shifting to a more aggressive subscription strategy is limited
  8. Increasing the number of times a reader hits a paywall makes them more likely  to subscribe, but this likelihood eventually declines
  9. Minimizing friction in the purchase process can have a significant, positive impact on your subscription conversion rate
  10. Readers in Latin America are generally more price-sensitive than in other regions, but differentiated pricing can increase the average revenue per user
  11. The prevalence of “rewards clubs” in Latin America leads to different churn and engagement goals than in other regions


The free report is available for download here. It will be made available in Spanish and Portuguese in the coming weeks.

The webinar discussion about the report and its main takeaways can be watched on demand here.



Rodrigo Bonilla, Director for the Americas, WAN-IFRA  

The World Association of News Publishers, headquartered in Paris and Frankfurt with offices in Singapore, Chennai, and Mexico City, is the global organisation of the world’s press. WAN-IFRA’s mission is to protect the rights of journalists and publishers around the world to operate independent media. It provides its members with expertise and services to innovate and prosper in a digital world and perform their crucial role in society. With formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe, it derives its authority from its global network of leading news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs, and its legitimacy from its 60 national association members representing 18,000 publications in 120 countries.

The Google News Initiative represents Google’s effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Through its partnerships, programs and products, the Google News Initiative works with thousands of organizations worldwide to support quality independent journalism, financial sustainability, and development of new technologies that drive innovation. Google allocated $300 million over three years to energize these collaborations, and to lay the foundation for new products and programs for a diverse set of news publishers, to benefit the entire ecosystem. Learn more from the 2020 GNI Impact report.

Mather is a global leader in subscription management and customer data analytics. We provide turn-key analytics services that solve complex problems for our clients. Our unique value proposition enables fast, economical, and verifiable return on investment through our efficient application of predictive analytics, A/B testing, and data science.



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