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User-friendly subscription based payments could help newspaper industry

It is no secret that the newspaper industry has declined in recent years. According to a report by ABC, the newspaper market is dwindling at a rate of more than 8 percent a year. However, as newspaper revenue falls, the number of people using smartphones rises.

The annual "State of the News Media" report from the Pew Research Center said 39 of the 50 most popular news websites had more mobile than desktop visitors. Although newspapers are getting traffic through mobile devices, mobile users spent at least 10 percent less time per visit on 25 of the top 50 news sites than readers coming through desktop computers. Smartphone users spent more time than desktop users on only 10 of these sites. 

According to the Pew report, advertisers are going after these mobile users. In fact, $19 billion was spent on mobile advertising in 2014 alone. While digital newspaper ad revenue increased a little bit last year, it hasn't been quite enough to make up for the decline in print revenue. 

"$19 billion was spent on mobile advertising in 2014 alone."

"For the past five years, newspaper ad revenue has maintained a consistent trajectory: Print ads have produced less revenue (down 5 percent), while digital ads have produced more revenue (up 3 percent) — but not enough to make up for the fall in print revenue," the report said.

The decrease in newspaper revenue may have also affected employment in the industry. Newspaper employment fell 3 percent in 2013, leaving only 36,700 employees in the field. 

How can newspapers increase traffic?
Since newspapers now get a lot of their traffic from smartphone users, it is essential to make subscription based payments as user-friendly as possible. For example, newspapers should consider breaking up a long enrollment process into single steps that are easy to follow. This way, customers are less likely to get frustrated with a time-consuming registration. Many users are also likely to forget their passwords, so it is important to make the recovery process as easy as possible. 

In addition, newspaper companies should allow visitors to determine how long they want to stay signed in the site. Engaged users who like to visit newspaper sites multiple times a day will appreciate the option of staying signed in.

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