Revisiting Pricing Fundamentals: Takeaways from our latest webinar

In our most recent pricing webinar, our Mather experts delved into principles that enable publishers to navigate the rapidly changing landscape of subscription revenue models. If you weren’t able to attend, you can catch up by watching the recording below or staying updated by reading our key takeaways.

Click here to download our pricing cheat sheet!


Adapting to Shifting Industry Trends  

In today’s dynamic media landscape, revenue sustainability is top of mind for publishers. There has been a noticeable shift in consumer preferences for news subscriptions, with digital-only subscriptions representing half of the total circulation volume*. Despite the shift in volume mix, print revenue has held its ground, accounting for three-fourths of total circulation revenue*. Lagging digital revenues paired with audience declines (17% Y-O-Y*) highlight the urgent need for robust product and pricing strategies to facilitate business model transformation.


*Mather’s Subscription Industry Benchmarking Report – Q4 ‘2023 

In our recent webinar, “Revisiting Pricing Fundamentals: A Publisher’s Compass for Success,” we explored the importance of pricing as a lever for growth, along with strategies and tactics that publishers can leverage to assess and optimize their pricing strategy. 


Unlock Success with Strategic Alignment and Structured Execution 

Before making pricing decisions, we reviewed the importance of assessing your current level of pricing maturity. Newer publishers typically start with Pricing as a Project, while more established ones have matured to the Pricing as a Process stage. Progressing to Pricing as a System, is supported by investments in data maturity and technology. By this stage, many publishers choose to partner with experts in subscription revenue management and data science to ensure positive ROI and organizational efficiency. 


Other key considerations for publishers assessing their pricing strategy and execution capabilities include: 

  • Strategic organizational objectives 
  • Pricing priorities across the subscription lifecycle 
  • Analytical approaches to pricing 
  • Execution requirements and roadmap  
  • Success criteria and performance tracking 


Consider the Domino Effect of Pricing  

Acquisition pricing has a direct impact on the publisher’s new start volume, churn, and renewal pricing opportunity. Publishers should consider the entire subscriber lifecycle when tuning their pricing strategy to ensure efforts are working together in harmony.   



We reviewed three common approaches to setting list prices, including Cost-Plus, Competitor-Based, and Value-Based strategies. We explored promotional pricing strategies critical for driving new start volume, emphasizing the importance of maintaining introductory discounting even as market prices evolve. Win-back strategies were highlighted, emphasizing the use of registration walls and leveraging prior subscription data for targeting individuals. Lifetime Value (LTV) emerged as a crucial metric, guiding pricing decisions to achieve long-term success. 

We discussed the importance of weaving retention into your acquisition strategy to drive long-term subscriber relationships and revenue. Best-in-class publishers deploy a robust subscriber onboarding series, segment their audiences, and leverage proactive, personalized experiences to drive engagement and retention. 


Avoid Common Pitfalls and Embrace Experimentation  

Having worked with over 400 newspaper clients, Mather has found that the most common pricing mistakes include:  

  1. Overlooking the cost of production and market conditions  
  1. Underestimating the power of promotions to drive sustainable revenue growth 
  1. Applying a one-size-fits-all approach that neglects subscriber willingness to pay (and stay) 

Above all, as you navigate the dynamics of subscription pricing, remember that the worst mistake of all is to do nothing and allow your pricing strategy to stagnate. Embrace an exploratory mindset, promote agile, data-driven experimentation, and prioritize Lifetime Value as a guiding principle. Utilize robust A/B testing to identify optimal approaches, investing in your pricing maturity to sustain and diversify revenue streams long-term. 

Looking to elevate your pricing strategy? Contact us here.


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