“Overnight, new subscription conversions improved by 30% and retention by 25%.” – Curtis Huber, Senior Director, Circulation and Audience Revenue at The Seattle Times.

Company The Seattle Times
Industry Media

The Customer

Founded in 1896, The Seattle Times is a family-owned, daily US newspaper. It has the largest circulation in the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region.

The Challenge

When the company decided to move from print to digital, it realized it didn’t have the right subscription management systems required to make the shift.

The Solution

Zuora’s cloud-based solutions helped The Seattle Times launch an easy, digital sign-up process, process payments, and manage readers through their entire subscriber lifecycle.

The Benefits

The Seattle Times saw new digital conversions improve by 30% and retention improve by 25%.

“We realized we were becoming a subscription-first revenue business, and we needed the digital subscriber.”

The Seattle Times' Story


Zuora’s cloud-based solutions helped The Seattle Times launch an easy, digital sign-up process, process payments, and manage readers through their entire subscriber lifecycle.

Founded in 1896, The Seattle Times is a family-owned, daily US newspaper. It has the largest circulation in the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region.

“In 2013, we realized we were becoming a subscription-first revenue business, and we needed the digital subscriber,” explained Curtis Huber, Senior Director, Circulation and Audience Revenue at The Seattle Times. The company found that in addition to paid print subscribers, there was a growing digital audience that was willing to pay and subscribe online. It also found that a lot of its print subscribers, including older readers, were consuming digital content. However, it was faced with two issues – it wasn’t easy to subscribe online, and it was seeing a lot of involuntary churn due to failed payments. “62% of all subscribers who stopped a digital-only subscription didn't stop because they wanted to, we stopped them because we couldn't process a payment,” says Huber.

The paper knew it needed a better subscription management system. “We decided we couldn’t stay on our current system. We could have bought another purpose-built system built for print distribution with a little bit of digital sensibility built into it. Or we could go with a system that was optimized for digital consumers and our future state. It seemed like a no-brainer,” says Huber.

Enter Zuora.

“Zuora made it simple – consumers can subscribe quickly.  No cost of acquisition, no cost of fulfillment. A little fee to process a payment and we are growing and retaining revenue. That's what we needed.”

The Seattle Times started off implementing Zuora for new digital subscriptions and eventually migrated all of its digital-only subscribers as well as print subscribers to the Zuora system.

“Overnight, new subscription conversions improved by 30%. There’s nothing I've done in my career that have impacted subscription start numbers like that! We’ve also captured new consumers that have never subscribed before. And those that are starting their subscriptions are sticking around. We improved our retention by another 25%,” says Huber.

Zuora is proud to partner with The Seattle Times in its endeavor to serve the public with independent journalism. 

“62% of all subscribers who stopped a digital-only subscription didn’t stop because they wanted to, we stopped them because we couldn’t process a payment.”

“Zuora made it simple – consumers can subscribe quickly. No cost of acquisition, no cost of fulfillment. A little fee to process a payment and we are growing and retaining revenue. That’s what we needed.”

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