Mather Economics and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications have formed a partnership to aggregate and analyze U.S. news media companies’ user behavior and subscription data.

The ongoing benchmarking project, called the Medill Subscriber Engagement Index, will launch in March 2021.

“MSEI has wide implications for producing game-changing, actionable insights that will accelerate the industry’s reader revenue-making and engagement abilities,” says a news release on the effort.

“Reader revenue is now a cornerstone in the business model for local news,” said Tim Franklin, Medill’s senior associate dean and John M. Mutz Chair in Local News.

“What makes this index so valuable is that it will allow local news outlets to not only measure their own performance with paying readers, but to benchmark against peers across companies around the nation. It also includes a “what if” tool that uses current subscriber data to predict future financial outcomes of strategic decisions. These insights will empower local news leaders to grow revenue at this pivotal time for the industry.