The Atlantic manages over 800K digital subscribers with Stripe

Though it only launched digital subscriptions in 2019, The Atlantic’s multi-digital publishing platform has evolved from its original magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, which was first published in 1857. Today, serves as a hub for reporting, analysis, and commentary as well as original literary works from leading writers.

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The Atlantic had a goal: build deeper and more continuous relationships with its readers. As The Atlantic’s largely US-based readership was moving increasingly toward digital media, the company decided to make a significant shift by launching a digital subscription model for its readers. In preparing for this pivot, The Atlantic knew it needed to rethink its payment strategy. The company was still reliant on a payment provider tied with its traditional print magazine, but recognized this wouldn’t scale with the new digital offering.

“It was important for us to partner with a payment provider that’s best in class at what they do so that we could build a technology infrastructure that would grow with us,” said Alaina Browne, The Atlantic’s former executive director of product, subscriber growth. Only a payments provider capable of integrating with The Atlantic’s evolving tech stack would help it achieve its goal to build deeper relationships with its growing online readership.


While The Atlantic considered several subscription management providers, including ones that cater specifically to publishers, it ultimately found Stripe to be the right platform to grow with its digital infrastructure. “Stripe’s developer support and robust APIs were key to our decision. We knew we would be well supported as our company grew and needs evolved,” reflected Browne.

The Atlantic enlisted Stripe to handle payments for its new digital subscription offerings, including both digital-only signups as well as bundled digital and print subscriptions. This required Stripe to funnel subscription data to The Atlantic’s existing print fulfillment provider, which The Atlantic was able to accomplish due to the flexibility Stripe’s platform offered. In just three months, The Atlantic had implemented Stripe Payments and Stripe Billing to support the launch of its brand-new digital subscription offerings.

The Atlantic also utilized Stripe’s partner integrations with ChargeDesk and Churn Buster. These out-of-the-box integrations eliminated the need for The Atlantic to come up with complicated, custom integrations. ChargeDesk offered billing support for The Atlantic’s subscribers, and ChurnBuster gave The Atlantic the tools it needed to manage its email dunning campaigns and recover failed payments.


After a seamless launch of its new digital subscription, The Atlantic has added over 800,000 new subscribers. Armed with billing recovery tools and long-term commitments to its subscription service, The Atlantic is equipped to continue its growth trajectory.

Higher retention rates with Stripe’s billing recovery offerings

The Atlantic aims to create lasting relationships with its subscribers by offering annual subscriptions. This means every retained customer provides significant long-term value to The Atlantic’s bottom line. Thanks to Stripe’s billing recovery tools, it has the capacity to save customer credit cards, send automated failed payment emails, and use smart retries on rejected cards. The net result is higher retention rates, which has helped The Atlantic realize over $650,000 in recovered revenue.

Expanding into new demographics and regions

As part of the new digital offering, The Atlantic aimed to broaden into new, younger target demographics. To attract those readers, The Atlantic needed to expand the breadth of its payment offerings to options like Apple Pay. Thanks to the partnership with Stripe, these new payment methods fit seamlessly into its new subscription system. Additionally, The Atlantic reader base has historically been heavy in the US, but now as The Atlantic prepares to grow into international markets, it has confidence in Stripe’s capacity to navigate the complexities of payments diversified across the globe.

We’re doing our best because Stripe’s doing its best to deliver a world-class platform. One of the things we’ve really appreciated about Stripe is the feedback that we’re able to provide to the product team, which we see directly influence the products Stripe builds. Stripe is responsive to our needs and is always working on new features.

Alaina Browne, former Executive Director of Product, Subscriber Growth

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