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Save digital subscriptions by killing “zombies”

When subscribers don't read content, they're far more likely to cancel their subscriptions. Hunting "zombies" to reduce churn should be part of any healthy subscription revenue strategy.

Keeping existing subscribers is as essential to healthy funnel discipline as building reach and encouraging new readers to build a regular habit of consuming your work.

The Medill Local News Initiative first brought us the insight that habitual use leads to subscription and retention. Now they’ve quantified how many digital subscribers don’t regularly read news they’re paying for.

Close to half of digital subscribers are “zombies,” paying readers who visit a site less than once per month, leaving a sizable chunk of subscription revenue at risk and undermining subscription as a reliable revenue stream.

The team also studied ways teams can combat that “zombification.” Medill references our Q&A on how the Arizona Republic’s honed their “zombie-killing” skills to reengage subscribers and cut churn.