Ever since we launched our subscription model back in 2017, we’ve fielded regular surveys to our customers. The thinking is that if we’re going to ask readers to pay for the work we produce, we’d better be sure the work we produce is lining up with what our readers actually value — not with what traditional newsroom culture prioritizes.
We put the survey back out to subscribers last month and were blown away by the level of participation. We had 851 subscribers complete the survey, giving us a wide base of input to help us assess how we’re doing…and, by and large, our subscribers seem to think we’re doing pretty well!
In the interest of transparency, we like to pass the topline results along so you can see what we’re seeing.
We’ve made a conscious effort to keep our subscription costs low so that access to all of our reporting is affordable for most households. (As a point of comparison, our price — $7/month or $77/year — is about half the cost of a digital subscription to the Kansas City Star).
So we were glad to see a strong endorsement of the value our subscribers say they’re getting from the site.
99% of respondents said they are at least getting their money’s worth for the cost of a subscription. In fact, 50% of respondents said they were getting MORE value than the price. Another 49% said they were getting the right amount of value for the price.
See the results graph below:
Trustworthiness ratings for “the media” at large have been in a free fall for years now. People often tell researchers they don’t think news outlets tell the truth, or that they believe the media has an overt political agenda.
We know that if readers are going to pay for the information we produce, they’ve got to know that we’re going about our work in good faith — that is, that we’re passing along verified information, and that we’re working to present it through a neutral frame.
By and large, our efforts seems to be working. 95% of respondents rated us as trustworthy, with 69% saying we were “almost always trustworthy” and 26% saying we were “mostly trustworthy.” Those numbers have held steady since we last fielded the survey in the fall of 2020. Take a look at the results below:
Still, we know this is an area where we can’t let up on our efforts. That’s why we’re excited to be working with Trusting News this spring on a project to more proactively explain our values, approach and process. We’ll have a formal announcement on that partnership soon.
Our overall satisfaction rating has held steady since launch, with 92% of subscribers saying they are satisfied with the product. We had 56% of respondents say they were “very satisfied” with their subscriptions in this most recent survey and another 36% say they were “mostly satisfied”.
SHAMELESS PLUG: If YOU would like to join these throngs of satisfied people (we’ve got 5,715 subscribers total as of this morning), why not try a subscription yourself? It’s just $1 for the first month?
Take a look at the chart below:
Those numbers are very strong by industry standards — but we’re going to keep work to turn some more of those “mostly” folks into “verys”!
Thank you, Shawnee Mission, for your support of truly local news here in Johnson County!