'Christian Science Monitor' Hits 10,000 Paid Digital Subscribers, Launches Paywall

The Christian Science Monitor has reached 10,000 paid digital subscribers to its daily newsletter, The Monitor Daily, since it launched last year.

Nieman Lab reports that to help hit 10,000 paying subscribers, the Monitor ramped up its email marketing efforts.

“It’s very straightforward and unsexy, but we begin our relationship with all our subscribers by talking to them about the work we do,” associate publisher David Grant told Nieman Lab.

The ad-free Monitor Daily costs $11 a month or $110 a year. For Christian Science Monitor print magazine subscribers, The Monitor Daily is $7 a month or $70 a year.

 The Monitor Daily newsletter contains five simplified, easy-to-consume stories.



Rather than sending email solicitations that include discounts or special offers to potential subscribers, the Monitor sent out “40 to 50 op-ed-style, this-is-why-you-should-subscribe emails,” Grant added.

Grant said personal contact with readers also proved successful in converting them to paying subscribers.

“Myself and [Christian Science Monitor editor] Mark Sappenfield have sent thousands of emails to subscribers this year,” Grant told Nieman Lab. “That may not be sustainable over the long term, but if we transition it to the customer-service team, they will be encouraged to pass it on. It’s really closing the circle: We send something to you, you have a question, a real human writes back to you.”

The Monitor hopes to reach 17,000 subscribers in the next year.

This week, The Christian Science Monitor launched its metered paywall. Readers can access five articles for free before they are asked to subscribe.

Sappenfield previously said the digital advertising business is declining for the Monitor and other news organizations. A paywall “puts us on a better path to securing the long-term success of the Monitor by placing it on a firmer economic footing," he wrote on the site in March.
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