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by , May 10, 2021, mediapost.com

Digital-only subscriptions to local newspapers will overtake print subscriptions by 2027 at the latest as reading habits continue to shift to digital platforms, according to a forecast published last week.

The digital dominance may happen as early as mid-2024 if online subscriptions exceed their historical growth or print shows an even steeper decline, according to Mather Economics. The consulting firm recommends newspapers develop a strategy to raise prices on digital subscriptions to make up for print losses.

About 21% of total paid subscriptions are currently digital, a yearly increase of 32%, while the remainder are print, according to data Mather has compiled from local newspapers for its quarterly subscription benchmarking report.

The problem for newspapers is they tend to charge less for their digital product than for print. The average digital subscription costs a reader $9.49 a month nationwide, compared with $29.71 a month for print. Starting subscriptions for digital also are less at $3.48 a month, compared with $16.95 for print.

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