2022-03-16 Scott Roessler

Rising Out of the Ashes: How the Media & Publishing Industry Adapted to Change After the Pandemic

Scott Roessler, CEO of Naviga, reflects on the growth the media and publishing industry has seen since the start of the pandemic.

It’s no secret that the past several years have been a rollercoaster ride that none of us were expecting. When the pandemic started in 2020, the media and publishing industry was hit hard. People around the world were forced to accelerate their digital transformation plans and change their day-to-day operations while learning how to collaborate virtually. 

Two years later, we’ve seen the publishing industry move towards stabilization and, more importantly, green shoots of market growth.  


New revenue channels: the growth of subscription revenue 

When the pandemic began, everyone was left with more questions than answers on the outlook of the industry. Ad revenues, which have historically seen an 8% to 10% decline in the past, saw a concerning 40% to 50% drop instead. As publishers grew concerned about revenue streams, one revenue channel rose out of the ashes of the global chaos as readers’ hunger for news and content grew: subscription revenue.  

Between March and May 2020, subscriptions were 110% higher than the baseline. Staying connected and getting news from reliable, authoritative sources was more important than ever – which remained to be the case throughout 2021 and to this very day as readers seek to avoid “fake news.” Due to this, readers were more willing to subscribe to news publications to stay in the loop on the latest world news surrounding coronavirus, social issues, and more.  

The growth in subscription revenue wasn’t reserved just for the newspaper industry, though! Magazines have seen a large increase in subscribers as well. Press Gazette reports that the top 50  US magazines saw a 70% increase in digital readership since 2019, growing from 4.3m to 7.3m digital subscriptions in 2021. Zinio, a Naviga company, saw firsthand this massive uptick in digital subscriptions last year and had their largest growth year to date. 


Innovative thinking and technology changed the playing field 

In order to grow additional revenue streams, we also saw publications around the world get more creative with the types of offerings they provided, from subscription offers to online events. This helped prove a combined resiliency – as well as highlighted the innovative thinking of our industry’s professionals. 

With revenue continuing to trend upwards, the industry is finally starting to see the stability we had before the pandemic. This will only continue to improve in 2022 and we expect to see more growth as publishers shift to content-first mindsets, aided by the innovative technologies of today’s society. From print automation to smart data, editorial teams now have the ability to cut down on manual work and focus on creating more value for their publication.  


How Naviga is poised for growth and stability in 2022 

Since Naviga was formed in 2013, we have made it our priority to provide innovative solutions to our customers. To do so, we have worked to acquire companies to bolster our media news solutions as well as in adjacent markets, to help further drive innovation and now offer solutions for media-rich industries across three different platforms:  

In 2022, we plan to continue taking our Content Engagement Platform to the next level so that our customers can continue to succeed in their endeavors. In fact, we recently announced that we have acquired Abacus, a United Kingdom headquartered SaaS digital subscription and audience insight supplier. This acquisition opens up even more opportunities for our customers to drive digital subscription revenue by providing targeted offers and relevant content to their readers that is driven by data insights across multiple channels. 


Taking your business to new heights 

The last two years have shown the industry just how important it is to have the right digital tools available to get the right content to the right people at the right time (say that three times fast). That’s why we’ve planned a roadmap of releases across these platforms that will allow you to take your business to new heights in 2022 – no matter whether you are looking to balance print and digital, grow digital subscriptions, cut down on costs and time, or improve digital collaboration.  

We’re honored to work with customers daily to not only help them take advantage of opportunities that arise, but to also help them navigate the challenges that today’s market growth has brought. In May, we will hold our second annual US customer conference called Navigate 2022, where we will address how publishers can keep their readers coming back for more by driving better engagement at every step of the publishing lifecycle. We invite you to join us and other industry professionals for this exciting event! 

I encourage you to keep an eye on our website throughout the year to get the latest news on Naviga releases or insights into the industry. Our team can’t wait to share what they’ve been working on.