How De Correspondent doubled its subscriber base two years after its historic crowdfunding campaign

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Started in 2013, De Correspondent has more than doubled its total number of annual subscribers from 17,000 in spring 2013, when their campaign was announced on Dutch national television, raising $1.7 million.

Since then, annual De Correspondent membership has attracted more than 40,000 subscribers paying €60 a year or €6 a month.

Latest subscriber numbers were published in a Medium post by co-founder Ernst Jan Pfauth Tuesday.

To give you an idea of the magnitude of this achievement: 40,000 members for a Dutch-language medium in the Netherlands, a country with a population of 17 million, is comparable to having 750,000 subscribers in the U.S. To our knowledge, only two news organizations in the world have passed that number: The New York Times, with over 1 million digital-only subscribers, and the Wall Street Journal, with 900,000.

Annual membership is reconsidered every September for the largest block of De Correspondent members, the 20,000 or so who signed up for the original annual subscription two years ago.

“We were pleased to see that 60% of the crowdfunders chose to stick with us! And we’ve been steadily growing by over a thousand members a month ever since,” Pfauth said in the Medium post.

“We can now conclude that crowdfunding can be a great kickstart for a member-based publication, but no more than that,” Pfauth said in the Medium post, which highlighted membership renewal rates of 79% after the first year, and monthly membership renewal rates up 89% after the first month.

Read more about it on Fortune.

Earlier this year at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, Pfauth shared why he believes De Correspondent has been able to use crowdfunding campaign to build a business from scratch primarily from annual membership fees and no ads. Facebook has always been a part of their strategy. Another takeaway: Don’t build a publication, build a movement.

The most successful news startup crowdfunding campaigns, including the one that created De Correspondent, have some important things in common. See here to read more.

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Khari Johnson
Khari is founder and editor of Through the Cracks: Crowdfunding in Journalism. He also writes about bots and artificial intelligence for VentureBeat. He has built news startups in the U.S. and Europe for the last decade.

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