Big media brands doubling subscriber number as readers hunt for top-notch journalism

Mike Richards
Director

22nd April

Both Bloomberg and the FT have experienced exponential readership growth thanks to coronavirus – with some curious top stories to boot.

We have started to look at media usage, mainly in the UK, but because many of our clients are global, we wanted to share some media usage data we’ve seen further afield, especially across Europe-Middle-East-Africa (EMEA).

The FT has seen subscriptions grow 194% in the past 12 weeks. Sold in print in over 70 countries, it has also witnessed a 264% increase in trials on FT.com.

These numbers are growing by over 100% each week, sometimes in excess of 200%. In EMEA the numbers are all in excess of 200% with the first of the 12 weeks showing an uplift on trials for FT.com up 435%. In Asia-Pacific the uplift is high too, but numbers hover around the 100% increase mark for trials and subscriptions.

In terms of unique users, FT.com is up 165% with the channel being accessed more flatly across the day as fewer people are commuting. The early morning spikes you’d normally see have gone.

The FT has a Coronavirus Business Update which currently has 84,000 subscribers, with an open rate of 43%. This is high. Two weeks ago, there were 45 million pages views in one week – the highest ever.

Bloomberg’s EMEA unique users are up 92%. Page views are up 62% from the same time last year.

Stats from the three possible devices which this site can be consumed on has changed from 2019 vs 2020: mobile 53% up to 71%; desktop 41% down to 25% (no one is at work) and tablet 7% down to 4%.

Within the Bloomberg site the most popular sections are also showing massive signs of increased traffic: business is up 79%, markets is up 161% (real markets can only dream of this kind of gain), politics is up 213% and Bloomberg Businessweek is up 66%.

The most read story on Bloomberg was about the shrinking supply of condoms. There is a gag here, but I’ll wait until the crisis is over.

In Switzerland the bi-weekly newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft (the Swiss equivalent to FTfm) has seen its sister website, fuw.ch, attracted 4.5 million views in March. For context, the site normally attracts either side of three million page impressions per month without too much fluctuation through the year.

In Germany where, like Switzerland, print is still popular, Wirtschaftswoche (a weekly German equivalent to The Economist) has seen a year-on-year increase in their print subscriptions. Handelsblatt (the Monday-Friday equivalent of the FT) is up nearly 2%.

But it is online where the numbers have jumped month-on-month.

Taking February vs March – Handelsblatt has seen its unique users rise by 39%, Wirtschaftswoche up by 37% and Die Zeit (like The Times in the UK, published daily out of Hamburg and regarded as the paper of record within Germany) is up 35%.

Germans, like the Swiss – and the world over – appear to be gravitating towards media brands they trust.