WAN-IFRA, Google share Impact Report from the inaugural GNI APAC Subscriptions Lab

2021-04-09. Eight Asian publishers participated in the four-month intensive Subscriptions Lab, announced at the first Asian Media Leaders eSummit last July. Designed to accelerate their journeys in building lighthouse examples of subscription success in the region, the program delivered strategic roadmaps and launched small experiments on understanding value propositions, creating loyal paying relationships with readers, optimising the engagement and subscription funnel, and embracing a reader-first strategy and culture.

by WAN-IFRA External Contributor | April 9, 2021

To advance each publisher’s subscription journey, the Lab also expanded support by further building data foundations through Google Tag Manager tagging and advanced analytics practices in Google Analytics.

The program delivered immediate positive business and subscription results including an 18.8% decrease in subscriber churn, 10.2% increase in intercept rate, 25.6% increase in top-of-funnel unique visitors, and 35.4% increase in unique email database size. This report highlights publisher-specific experiments, results, feedback and the continued support for publishers to grow subscription success in Asia.

Here is what the participants have to say about the program:

“[The Subscriptions Lab] has brought large clarity on the possibilities and the way ahead. Benchmarking was a good take away since it gave us insights on what to target, broader understanding of issues faced by other publishers, and insights into strategies adopted by other publishers.”

 Pradeep Gairola, VP & Business Head – Digital, The Hindu

 “Since joining the lab, we were able to realign expectations with our boss, which really changes everything. Benchmarks helped us prioritize. Subscribers are no longer the only KPI we care about. With new KPIs, other people can better see the progress we are making. They also help us convince our boss to give us more resources as well. We always knew we weren’t doing as well [as we could be], but to have someone outside the company to tell us that, it moves mountains within Japanese organizations.”

Samson Yee, Ex-Head of Product, Business Insider Japan

We are delighted to see these encouraging early results which illustrate the potential of digital subscriptions in the APAC region. The steep learning curve and amount of technical expertise involved have long been barriers for adoption in the region. Programs like the GNI APAC Subscriptions Lab provide the much-needed boost and expert guidance to put in place the necessary foundations for subscriptions success. We can’t wait to see these publishers enter the next phase of their subscriptions journey,” said Joon-Nie Lau, Director, Asia of WAN-IFRA.

Read more about the program and the report in this related blog post from a session during the Asian News Media Leaders eSummit by clicking here.

The report on GNI-APAC Subscriptions Lab is available is available at:


WAN-IFRA is the World Association of News Publishers. Its mission is to protect the rights of journalists and publishers around the world to operate independent media. WAN-IFRA provides its members with expertise and services to innovate and prosper in a digital world and perform their crucial role in society. With formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe, it derives its authority from its global network of leading news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs, and its legitimacy from its 60 national association members representing 18,000 publications in 120 countries.


The Google News Initiative represents Google’s largest-ever effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Through its partnerships, programs and products, the Google News Initiative works with thousands of organizations worldwide to support quality independent journalism, financial sustainability, and development of new technologies that drive innovation. Google has invested $300 million over three years to energize these collaborations, and to lay the foundation for new products and programs for a diverse set of news publishers, to benefit the entire ecosystem. This includes supporting thought leadership on topics like consumer revenue, advertising and data that are critical to the future of the news industry.

WAN-IFRA External Contributor

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