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Ranked: The Most Popular Paid Subscription News Websites


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Ranked: The Most Popular Subscription News Websites

While paywalls are becoming increasingly more popular among news websites, most consumers still aren’t willing to pay for their online news.

In fact, a recent survey by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reveals that only 20% of Americans pay for digital news, and of those that do, the majority subscribe to only one brand.

This begs the question—which news outlets are audiences willing to pay for?

Using data from FIPP and CeleraOne, this graphic looks at the most popular news websites across the globe, based on their total number of paid subscriptions.

*Note: This report relies on publicly available data, and should not be considered an exhaustive list.

The Full Breakdown

With 7.5 million subscriptions, The New York Times (NYT) takes the top spot on the list. 2020 was an exceptionally strong year for the outlet—by Q3 2020, the NYT had generated the same amount of revenue from digital subscriptions as it had for the entire year of 2019.

RankPublicationPaid Subscriptions
1 🇺🇸 The New York Times7,500,000
2 🇺🇸 The Washington Post3,000,000
3 🇺🇸 The Wall Street Journal2,400,000
4 🇺🇸 Game Informer2,100,000
5 🇬🇧 Financial Times1,100,000
6 🇺🇸 The Athletic1,000,000
7 🇬🇧 The Guardian790,000
8 🇯🇵 Nikkei769,000
9 🇬🇧 The Economist516,000
10 🇨🇳 Caixin510,000
11 🇩🇪 Bild494,000
12 🇬🇧 The Sunday Times337,000
13 🇬🇧 The Telegraph320,000
14 🇺🇸 The Atlantic300,000
15 🇮🇹 Corriere Della Sera300,000
16 🇫🇷 Le Monde300,000
17 🇺🇸 The Boston Globe270,000
18 🇦🇷 La Nacion260,000
19 🇦🇷 Clarin260,000
20 🇫🇷 L’equipe259,000
21 🇺🇸 Los Angeles Times253,000
22 🇸🇪 Aftonbladet250,000
23 🇺🇸 The New Yorker240,000
24 🇵🇱 Wyborcza240,000
25 🇧🇷 Folha de S.Paulo236,000
26 🇸🇪 Dagens Nyheter208,000
27 🇺🇸 Business Insider200,000
28 🇫🇷 Mediapart170,000
29 🇳🇴 VG150,000
30 🇺🇸 Wired142,000
31 🇨🇦 The Globe and Mail139,000
32 🇩🇪 Welt132,000
33 🇳🇴 Aftenposten119,000
34 🇫🇷 Le Figaro110,000
35 🇺🇸 Chicago Tribune100,000
36 🇺🇸 Star Tribune100,000
37 🇳🇴 Dagbladet100,000
38 🇫🇮 Helsingin Sanomat100,000

The Times is the most popular by a landslide—it has over double the number of subscriptions than the second outlet on the list, The Washington Post. Yet, while WaPo is no match for NYT, it still boasts a strong following, with approximately 3 million paid subscriptions as of Q4 2020.

Japanese outlet Nikkei ranks number one among the non-English news websites. It’s the largest business newspaper in Japan, mainly focusing on markets and finance, but also covering politics, sports, and health.

Legacy Papers: Which Websites Come From Traditional Media?

Most of the websites on this list stem from traditional media. Because of this, they’ve had years to establish themselves as trusted sources, and win over loyal readers.

Interestingly, more than half of the outlets included in this ranking are at least 100 years old.

PublicationYear LaunchedAge (Years)
🇬🇧 The Guardian1821200
🇬🇧 The Sunday Times1821200
🇫🇷 Le Figaro1826195
🇸🇪 Aftonbladet1830190
🇬🇧 The Economist1843178
🇺🇸 Chicago Tribune1847173
🇺🇸 NYT1852169
🇬🇧 The Telegraph1855166
🇺🇸 The Atlantic1857164
🇳🇴 Aftenposten1860160
🇸🇪 Dagens Nyheter1864157
🇺🇸 Star Tribune1867154
🇳🇴 Dagbladet1869152
🇦🇷 La Nacion1870151
🇺🇸 The Boston Globe1872149
🇮🇹 Corriere Della Sera1876145
🇺🇸 Washington Post1877144
🇯🇵 Nikkei.com1876144
🇺🇸 LA Times1881140
🇬🇧 Financial Times1888133
🇺🇸 Wall Street Journal1889132
🇫🇮 Helsingin Sanomat1889132
🇧🇷 Folha de S.Paulo1921100
🇺🇸 The New Yorker192596
🇨🇦 The Globe and Mail193685
🇫🇷 Le Monde194477
🇦🇷 Clarin194576
🇳🇴 VG194576
🇫🇷 L’equipe194675
🇩🇪 Welt194675
🇩🇪 Bild195269
🇵🇱 Wyborcza198932
🇺🇸 Game Informer199130
🇺🇸 Wired199328
🇺🇸 Business Insider200714
🇫🇷 Mediapart200813
🇨🇳 Caixin200912
🇺🇸 The Athletic20165

Yet, undeterred by these well-established outlets, a few scrappy websites made the cut despite a shorter history. Four out of the 38 websites are less than 20 years old.

The Athletic is the newest outlet to make the ranking. Established in 2016, the outlet’s target demographic is die-hard sports fans who miss the days of in-depth, quality sports writing.

The Need For Trusted Sources

Amidst the global pandemic, issues involving misinformation and fake news have helped reaffirm the important role that trusted news sources play in the dissemination of public information.

With this in mind, it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for digital media consumption. With paywalls becoming increasingly more common, will consumers jump on board and eventually be more willing to pay for their news?

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The post Ranked: The Most Popular Paid Subscription News Websites appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

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