All-you-can-read subs: 5 minutes with… Chris Couchman

Digital subscription services like Readly are popular ways of consuming magazines and newspapers. We grab five minutes with Readly’s Chris Couchman to talk about developments, past and present.

By Chris Couchman

All-you-can-read subs: 5 minutes with… Chris Couchman

Q: How have digital reading habits changed during Covid?

A: With more time at home and people looking for something to inspire, entertain, inform or distract them during the times of lockdown, digital reading has seen an increase. People are snack reading recipes or DIY tips or deep diving into articles or features on digital magazines.

Certain categories have seen a significant boost this year and unsurprisingly, these have been focused on activities in the home; DIY & crafts, food & drink as well as interior design have increased the most in the UK and these show a similar pattern globally too.

Q: What impact has the addition of newspapers made to reading habits on platforms like Readly?

A: We currently have nine of the UKs national newspapers on the Readly platform. We are seeing people read multiple titles across the platform, trying out new titles and cross reading the newspapers and magazines. People are reading more than one newspaper and it’s having a halo effect in our magazines too.

Q: One advantage digital has over print is in the area of reader analytics. How are publishers using this information?

A: Insights and metrics are an important source of information, they help to inform publishers about their readers' likes, dislikes, interests, which allows the publisher to strike a winning formula.

Readly has developed a new analytics tool based on what 32 billion data points tell us about digital magazine consumption so publishers can better understand reader behaviour and preferences. The valuable data opens up new opportunities for publishers to become even more data-driven, adapt their content in both print and digital, optimize magazine ads, and further develop their insight-based digital strategy. The tool is called Readly Insight and will be rolled out in 2021 following a beta test phase.

Q: How do you see the future of magazines?

A: Whilst digital will continue to gain momentum, print is here to stay. Magazines have been used as a great source of inspiration and knowledge for various subjects this year and this reading trend will continue well into next year. On average, our subscribers read 13 titles per month, exploring the Readly portfolio of both current issues, back issues and foreign titles too which is a clear differentiation vs physical magazines and newsstands.

The habits of readers are evolving and there is an increasing acceptance in having digital subscriptions not only in music and mobile content but also news and magazines. We will see a move towards the all you can read model, like we have seen in TV, and music. We predict a more widespread resistance to fake news and an ever increasing appreciation of verified journalism. This means significant opportunities for Readly as we are pioneering the digitalisation of magazines and catering to the new preferred way of consuming content – “all you can read” subscriptions.

Q: What's in the pipeline at Readly?

A: We are always looking at new ways to develop and improve our offering for both publishers and consumers and keep ahead of the industry. Whilst working hard with existing publishers to maximise their reads, we are looking at optimizing our offering with innovative features and new forms of content.

In 2020, we launched in Australia and New Zealand. We will continue to develop existing markets and explore new possibilities as well as leading the digital magazine transformation, across Europe and beyond.

"During 2020, Readly distributed 140,000 issues that have been read 99 million times."

About us

Readly is a digital subscription service that lets customers have unlimited access to nearly 5,000 national and international magazine titles - all in one app. Founded in 2012, Readly is today one of the leading companies in digital magazine subscriptions in Europe with users in 50 markets. In collaboration with around 800 publishers worldwide, Readly is digitizing the magazine industry. Our purpose is to bring the magic of magazines into the future, enabling the discovery and survival of quality content. During 2020, Readly distributed 140,000 issues that have been read 99 million times.