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Consumer Reports Begins Generating More Revenue from Digital Subscriptions than from Print


In August 2011, Consumer Reports (published by non-profit Consumers Union based in Yonkers, New York) which started its website in 1997, began generating more revenue from digital subscriptions than from print. Digital subscriptions grew from 557,000 in 2001 to 3.3 million in 2011.

Perhaps more remarkably, the digital success of Consumer Reports, did not come from cannibalizing its print subscriptions; print subscriptions held steady at about 4 million since 2001.

"Consumer Reports’ online success is not necessarily a bellwether for other Web sites seeking paying subscribers, says Bill Grueskin, dean of academic affairs at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and formerly managing editor of

“ 'It isn’t much of a leap for people to pay $5.95 a month for access to a database that will help them make a wise purchase of a $500 dishwasher or a $25,000 car,' Mr. Grueskin says. 'It is much harder to get consumers — particularly those trained for the past 15 years to expect content for free — to pay for coverage of metro news, football games or politics' ” (, accessed 12-11-2011).

(This entry was last revised on 10-18-2014.)

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