- Paywalls are becoming more popular among news websites.
- The New York Times has the most subscribers, with 7.5 million.
- The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Game Informer and the UK's Financial Times all rank next respectively.
- Japanese outlet Nikkei ranks number one among the non-English news websites.
- Most of the websites on the list stem from traditional media, with more than half at least 100 years old.
While paywalls are becoming increasingly more popular among news websites, most consumers still aren’t willing to pay for their online news.
Have you read?
In fact, a recent survey by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reveals that only 20% of Americans pay for digital news, and of those that do, the majority subscribe to only one brand.
This begs the question—which news outlets are audiences willing to pay for?
Using data from FIPP and CeleraOne, this graphic looks at the most popular news websites across the globe, based on their total number of paid subscriptions.
*Note: This report relies on publicly available data, and should not be considered an exhaustive list.
The full breakdown
With 7.5 million subscriptions, The New York Times (NYT) takes the top spot on the list. 2020 was an exceptionally strong year for the outlet—by Q3 2020, the NYT had generated the same amount of revenue from digital subscriptions as it had for the entire year of 2019.
The Times is the most popular by a landslide—it has over double the number of subscriptions than the second outlet on the list, The Washington Post. Yet, while WaPo is no match for NYT, it still boasts a strong following, with approximately 3 million paid subscriptions as of Q4 2020.
Japanese outlet Nikkei ranks number one among the non-English news websites. It’s the largest business newspaper in Japan, mainly focusing on markets and finance, but also covering politics, sports, and health.
Legacy papers: Which websites come from traditional media?
Most of the websites on this list stem from traditional media. Because of this, they’ve had years to establish themselves as trusted sources, and win over loyal readers.
Interestingly, more than half of the outlets included in this ranking are at least 100 years old.
Yet, undeterred by these well-established outlets, a few scrappy websites made the cut despite a shorter history. Four out of the 38 websites are less than 20 years old.
The Athletic is the newest outlet to make the ranking. Established in 2016, the outlet’s target demographic is die-hard sports fans who miss the days of in-depth, quality sports writing.
What is the World Economic Forum doing about ensuring access to the internet for all?
In 2018, internet connectivity finally reached over half the world’s population. Yet some 3.4 billion people – about 50% of the world’s population – are still not online.
Although much progress has been made in closing this digital divide, the challenge remains overwhelming, complex and multidimensional. It requires a collaborative, multistakeholder approach to overcome four key barriers to internet inclusion: infrastructure; affordability; skills, awareness and cultural acceptance; and relevant content.
The World Economic Forum launched Internet for All in 2016 to provide a platform where leaders from government, private-sector, international organizations, non-profit organizations, academia and civil society could come together and develop models of public-private collaboration for internet inclusion globally.
Since its launch, Internet for All has achieved significant on-the-ground results globally - including launching four operational country programmes in Rwanda, South Africa, Argentina and Jordan.
Read more about our results, and ongoing efforts to ensure access to the internet for all in our impact story.
Contact us to partner with the Forum and shape the future of our digital economy.
The need for trusted sources
Amidst the global pandemic, issues involving misinformation and fake news have helped reaffirm the important role that trusted news sources play in the dissemination of public information.
With this in mind, it’ll be interesting to see what the future holds for digital media consumption. With paywalls becoming increasingly more common, will consumers jump on board and eventually be more willing to pay for their news?