The biggest revenue growth opportunity for news publishers in 2013 is video accompanied with high-CPM advertising, according to the INMA Board of Directors. During the INMA World Congress the innovators: Espen Egil Hansen (Executive Editor, Verdens Gang), and Anna Rastner (Managing Editor, Digital Content, Expressen) shared what they are doing in the video space and how these opportunities scale to publishers of all sizes.
The session was opened by Earl Wilkinson, who prepared a summary of the latest INMA Study: Making video pay off for news publishers, which is available for INMA members on www.inma.org. The research talks about the organic opportunity for online video, what publishers can do with online video, and how publishers can make money from online video.
With that growth opportunity comes product, scale, and sales challenges that require a top-to-bottom re-thinking by news publishers. Video may become a major source of new revenue when publishers need it the most.
What publishers are doing today with online video:
- extension of a story
- illustrate breaking news
- tv-style package
- part of multimedia package
- sell it as stand alone product
A lot depends on unique selling proposition, many publishers offer video in different forms, like: live video (Daily Telegraph), live chats (Toronto Sun), video text integration (Expressen) etc. The 4 great experiences mentioned in the presentation were: SMH.tv (Australia), VGTV (Norway), Expresse TV (Sweden), HuffPost Live (USA).
Fairfax for instance began very early with its video strategy and SMH.tv (Sydney Morning Herald) – first tv station was created in 2009. This publisher created an umbrella company “.tv”. They started with 400 titles, now having 2000 of them. They learned it is hard to organise, but they managed to make it searchable on all platforms. They learned different times a day require different forms: during the day short forms are better, evening is better for more lean back videos. What is importsant, the ads were ok with the viewers.
Lessons learned by many publishers:
- What works on TV doesn’t work online
- What works with print audience doesn’t work with video audience
- Viewers will stay online for longer programming
- Long form work can work during the day, but it has to be safe for work
- Long form strengthens the relationship with the brand.
Espen Egil Hansen (Executive Editor, VG-Verdens Gang) spoke about how his company is dealing with video. The core business of VG is news, but at the same time they are still looking to build a new brand and business. They are trying hard to be disruptive against TV, and they manage to do so. One of the examples shown by Hansen was a scene shot minutes after the bombing in Oslo. This time it was pure luck, but publishers who want to be disruptive against the TV definitely need to act fast.
It’s not about text or video it’s about storytelling. Hansen gave the example of such after the bombing in Boston. They were building the story literally minute by minute it should be composed of all forms possible: may be a tweet, may be a Vine, but only if the source is confirmed. Live feeds from AP and Reuters were combined with own VG reporters’ work, who used iPhone as a main tool. VG learned that text and video together is much more effective.
VG is not trying to create a TV station, but enhances the effectivity of communication on the webpages with videos. Going into video requires full engagement. Another example was about the concert of Justin Bieber in Oslo. VG took live videos from iPhones and helicopters. As soon as Bieber landed in Norway, they went live – followed him 40 km with helicopter, all the way to the stadium where 80.000 people were waiting for the concert:
VG is always thinking about the users: what will they prefer? To read watch and share a story at the moment or wait for tomorrows newspaper? Hansen said, that if publishers do not cover events like Justin Bieber live, they shouldn’t complain their readers are dying. Thanks to this strategy, 50% of VG.tv viewers are the ones under 35.
Documentaries and long forms also work if the story is good. One documentary went viral, grew internationally and reached 800.000 viewers. The demand was so high, they translated it to English, and until the end of the day, the reach was 1,7 million viewers.
Sometimes the video itself is the story: the terrorist Breivik was once showing police how he killed the people in the famous attack (VG was the only organisation that new he would be there). In this video no comment was necessary:
VG also started application for everyone to use. This application will be given to the readers.
The future of news, according to Hansen, has always been live. They manage to gain 300,000 viewers per week of the weekly show. Sports, live interviews, fishing, fashion are the topics VG is covering in videos. They will have 25 unique shows running this year.
VG online reach is 44% every day. Online in VG has also 44% of total EBITDA in the media house. VG has larger revenue from online advertising than paper. Digital there is growing more than the paper is falling.
VG is now the largest web TV in Norway, surpassing linear niche channels in terms of coverage.
Changes in the industry currently open up a window of opportunity. They believe mobile is not the second screen TV. They believe it’s the first screen.
Anna Rastner (Managing Editor, Digital Content, Expressen)
Expressen has 23% daily reach (1,6 million readers) among Swedes in the age of 15-55. They have 2,2 million unique visitors. Desktop video player for Expressen is Flash, mobile and desktop fallback is HTML 5.
The video content in Expressen is rich: 15-20 video clips every day, own and syndicated from news agencies. They also have a new focus on longer formats offer new challenges. The trend noticed is that viewers go for programmes. All of these are both inhouse production and produced by external partners. Some programmes are financed and sponsored by advertisers.
Live coverages in Expressen are done with help of own TV and newspaper journalists. There are 5-7 live coverages per day: press conferences, political debates, crime, etc. They are co-producing political show with broadcast staion TV4. Plus they have own studio with virtual setups.
Exclusive is no longer a print first story for Expressen. More and more often it is first the video, and then print is used (next day) to promote the story even more.
One of the keys to success is to use flexible technical solutions: iPhone, Skype, Google Hangouts. Expressen also uses LiveU backpacks with 3G and 4G connections for live coverages.
Expressen is characterized by all platform thinking. Next step for them is the smart TV, having discussions with Apple as well.
Video is gaining momentum, they’re latest product “Primetime” was up 25% the first week, and 45% the 2nd week (going with the show for 2 weeks so far).
Business model for video in Expressen is: prerolls, midrolls, banners, sponsorships, pre-financed programmes).
Revenues in Expressen were up 186% in 2013 in comparison to the year before.
Anna Rastner gave advice to those publishers who want to start introducing video to their strategies. Here is what they should be doing:
- train newspaper photographers to do video
- take advantage of tv stations promotion videos
- use free, flexible and user friendly technology
- get some exclusive content
- create events and turn them into tv
- use your whole news organisation as a content providers to the TV operation
What does transition from print to digital look like? What are the steps that should be taken? What is the tipping point to make such a transition? Gregory Hywood (CEO, Fairfax Media) answered those questions in his presentation during the INMA World Congress in New York.
Businesses don’t last forever. Print revenue going down and not going to stop. Revenues are week, and costs of production and distribution are too high. Newspapers that are going to survive in the future will be expensive, bespoke and narrow.
Publishers are changing their business models as fast as they can. But when should they stop printing? Is there an end of the business in sight? They’re on a journey from print to digital and know for certain they will be more digital than print in future, Haywood cannot say exactly when.
Fairfax is a truly integrated multimedia multi platform company. Independent quality journalism and content at the core. They monetize it throughout the day across all platforms – and that’s their strategy.
Australia is a wealthy nation and has one of the highest levels of internet penetration in the world. Fairfax audiences has never been greater – in the last 10 years the audiences grew by 50% to reach 9 million people via their mastheads.
Print advertising spend in Australia is declining (7% in the last 2 yrs) while digital is growing (12%). 70% of Fairfax Media audiences use digital as their news source.
Fairfax is responding by changing, and here is what they did so far:
- Driving new revenue and fixing the legacy cost base
- Launched compact formats of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age and introduced metered digital subscriptions
- Closing two biggest plants in Sydney and Melbourne providing felxibility to convert to digital only model
- Simplified organisational structure with integrated approach to sales, product and development, audience insights and marketing
- New uses for audience data and insights and increased focus on other adjancencies
Analysis showed that only 30% of the cost base was in core functions of advertising sales and editorial. Preparing Fairfax of future includes a reduction in Aus $200.000 million & 20% cut of workforce to re-engineer their business model. The company is being centralised, streamlined, cutting into middle management duplication and leverages content across group. Fairfax Media found 40% of its newsroom desks weren’t being used; it is now reducing real estate, sending staff out to virtual offices massively reducing office space and single enterprise cloud base.
Fairfax is reshaping through several significant changes:
- Restructurizing with a shared services model
- Outsourcing subediting ad production and contact centres to specialist service providers
- reducing real estate footprint through real time working and use of sub leasing arrangements
- introduction of web based CMS as well as single enterprise cloud-based solution for email and documents
- aggressively reducing unprofitable metro print circulation
Fairfax Media has rejected circulation as a relevant measure of a newspaper. They are moving to other measurements – they are thinking in terms of audience engagement.
Hywood finished his presentation with a statement, that Fairfax Media definitely knows its goal. All these changes and transformation are an incremental way of moving from print to digital.
What can premium news companies do to win the younger, Twitter-centric news consumer? During the INMA World Congress, Michael Lamb (Principal, McKinsey & Company) unveiled new research on the subject and recommended new ways to connect with consumers who have grown accustomed to a 24-hour clock for news and have come to expect ubiquitous access to news brands across print and digital platforms.
Mobile today is a small part of news consumption. 16 percent total media time in the US is spent on smartphones, 5 percent on tablets. But only 2 percent of US consumers spend time with news on smartphones, same with tablets (in comparison 35 percent of US consumers spend time with news in newpsapers).
16 million people in the US are mobile centric news consumers, and this number is growing. 32 percent of them are people aged 21-28, 45 percent 29-45.
Mobile centric news consumers have different needs that need to be served. Those are: mobility, timeliness, diversity of opinion, design, visual experience, personalization, social. In details, McKinsey’s research proved that:
- 50% of mobile centric consumers check the news continuously
- 31% of mobile centric consumers prefer news aggregators because of variety of sources and viewpoints
- 56% of mobile centric consumers strongly agree that the way news are presented and organized is as important as the content itself
- 32% of mobile centric consumers agree reading is more enjoyable when it goes beyond text, when they can view photos, charts, graphs
- 36% of mobile centric consumers want news customization
- 40% of mobile centric consumers follow news on scoial media and 21% of them agree it is important to share and comment on them
Mobile centric consumers value trusted sources. 14% look for specific comments, columns and favorite reporters. They are also willing to pay for content – 26% of mobile centric consumers are willing to pay for content from a source they trust and enjoy reading, and 31 % already have a current news subscription.
Winning the mobile centric consumer will require new capabilities. Those capabilities are as follows:
- Iterative product development that learns shamelessly from the digital natives until publishers are ready to take the lead
- New distribution to reach the mobile centric consumers at their moments of truth (i.e. at the time of the device or app purchase)
- New pricing models to tempt the next generation without cannibalizing the base
- More muscular marketing that moves beyond paywall to drive trial and develop engagement from scratch
Key takeaways from the presentation:
- Mobile centricity may well be the future – but we’re not there yet
- Mobile centric news consumers are clear what they want – for now
- Digital native players are serving the segment – with publishers’ content
- Brands and business models are relevant.
Three of the world’s leading news publishers spoke during the INMA World Congress in New York about what they are doing to accelerate their transformations on the road to multi-media. Lewis D’Vorkin (Chief Product Officer, Forbes Media), Rob Grimshaw (Managing Director, FT.com, Financial Times), and Petteri Putkiranta (Commercial Director, Helsingin Sanomat) shared their experience in becoming the market disruptor.
Forbes’ transformation of its Web site to a publishing platform featuring a wide variety of content and authors has resulted in a tripling its audience since 2010.
What Forbes did was an example of reinventing business journalism and traditional model for news. Forbes.com had 48 million unique visitors last month, what was 200% growth since june 2010 (from 12 million to 26 million).
Forbes.com has extended the notion of what journalism is. It has 1300 contributors, producing 100,000 posts a month. It’s not longer a magazin, it’s a platform. It is an example of iconic brand power with a new cover strategy.
Forbes represents a unique, scalable, efficient content model. It is characterized by:
Forbes.com built tools for authors to publish. They do all: write, take photos, produce, and market the articles. But what’s most important, they hit the publish button. It is a new newsroom for the digital era.
It is also a new kind of ad product – non disruptive advertising for social era. Same tools were given to advertisers, who pay for the possibility to publish. It’s all transparent, so everybody knows who is an author, whether it is a journalistic piece or an advertisement. For Forbes content is content, no matter if it comes from experts or advertisers. There is only one rule: content must be valuable.
Editor of Forbes chooses the top stories, but underneath is the most popular stack – it is not programmed, readers decide what they want to read, what they share and this is shown in the most popular box.
They are enabling community and advertisers to help them produce the platform. Scalable content model: They do it differently, publish it differently, produce it differently, staff it differently, pay for it differently. Journalism goes social.
They have something new that they do every week – creating the new newsroom all the time.
The Financial Times continues to re-write the rules of print to multi-media transformations with its ubiquitous embrace of print and digital subscriptions, and now innovations in HTML5 and mobile adoption that are setting the pace for publishers worldwide. FT is a 125 year old newspaper with 35 % of all revenues coming from digital.
What did Financial Times do in order to become the disruptor:
1. recognized that the print heritage is not always helpful. Print business is very static, throughout the ages it did not really change.
2. business models differ. In print when you own the distribution, you get your chunk of the audience. In digital world distribution is worth almost nothing – you can
reach basically anybody in the world from your own computer.
Rob Grimshaw recognized 4 kinds of disruptions:
Disruption 1: change your culture
Success in digital is about having a team, who are entrepreunial and innovative. They will always find a way over technological problems. The digital success will come after combining the efforts of the entire organisation. Publishers need to have a goal.
Disruption 2: change the rules
New world that publishers are moving into is one thing. Publishers as a whole for too long have been far too passive, accepting the rules created by others (Apple for instance). Publishers have enough to shape the rules themselves. That’s what FT did with its HTML5 app. FT didn’t accept Apple’s terms, as they already owned a significant and growing subscription business. They didn’t want to give someone else the information about the customers.
So they decided to create an app working in a browser, using HTML5. They were brave enough to experiment, as the worst thing that could happen would be going back to the AppStore. Only £50k has been invested by FT for HTML5 app development. That way Financial Times made its own rules to build a business on mobile.
They experienced a 77% audience growth from May 2011 to May 2012.
According to Grimshaw, publishers need to be brave to make such moves and build their own rules and landscapes.
Disruption 3: change your share
Direct internet reseller – that’s what they become. They did so by learning from watching the others, be it Amazon or others.
Disruption 4: don’t stop. There is no point where needs for innovation ends. When you look around you will see the ideas you need in order to succeed. Publishers should make sure their organisations is willing to take the baldest ideas and run them in a long term.
Helsingin Sanomat’s transformation includes five years of bundling print and digital subscription access, continuous development of digital (notably mobile),
abandoning the advertising-funded model on the Web and going for full-brand subscription, renewing print, and getting into TV news.
Circulation in 2012: 364,000 total, 26,000 digital only.
Main reasons to change was the dropping print circulation (2012 -7,5%). Second thing were the users who are changing as well (HS has almost a million unique visitors per week)
2008: strategic change.
circulation declines are due to change in consumer behavior, not digital. Tablets change the usage pattern and perception. Relative usage is 11 times higher than the average web usage. and 5 times higher than mobile app usage. Advertising ARPU is larger than 25 Euro per reader, currently close to 40t readers
Revisiting strategy pillars: strong company, unique quality content, deep relationship with readers, impactful media environment. Everything with the full meaning of brand strategy.
Step 1: Brand promise: quality content engaged readers.
Step 2: develop print – from broadsheet to tabloid (size). Changed the structure of it as well.
Step 3: Channel 4 news in December 2012
Where are they now.
initial buyers prefer premium
impact to advertising was mostly positive
Digital subscribers: 45% pay for digital
Advertisers, advertising and media agencies say Helsingin Sanomat is now clearly more interesting than before.
They are aiming at the growth in customers and reach. Continuous strategy process and development is necessary for that.
The Times of India is the world’s largest English-language newspaper with more than 4.6 million circulation daily. The company thinks big, even in an exponential age. The presentation done by Shrijeet Mishra (Chief Operating Officer, Times of India) and Arunabh Das Sharma (President, Times of India) at the INMA World Congress conference looked at two major revenue initiatives that are changing the game in India and having reverberations around the world.
The “Times of India is published” by a family owned company. One of its mottos is: “The Times of India brand is bigger than all its past and present editors and publishers combined”.
Print means for “The Times of India” delivering the world at readers’ feet:
1. They write for the reader, they see reader as the CEO
2. They believe they should cover everything
3. They believe in optimism
4. They believe they don’t know everything, so they have multiple views
The distribution is for the publisher reaching out to new customers. What they do is:
keeping it affordable
produce unique offers to keep numbers growing
robust home delivery mechanism
They build their image partially thanks to creative ad campaigns. It is the editorial team that creates ideas for such advertisements. Marketing and editorial team working hand in hand to create those:
- cognitive medium: it requires focused attention, and takes away the ability to multi-touch. On an average a reader spends 20 minutes reading the newspaper.
- physical product: the product is delivered to consumer every single day and gives the ability to touch and feel
- distribution strength: over 9 publications, 50 editions of Times Of India, 11 editions of Economic Times, 6 editions of Maharashtra Times, delivered over 365 days
- reach: Times of India alone has readership of 8 million , Navbharat Times 3 million, Maharashtra Times 2 million, Economic Times 1 million
Innovation is in the DNA of the company. They are the first newspaper in the world to go full colour in all editions. The company believes in keeping the prices low.
They invite guest speakers, leaders in politics, sport – to give fresher newer look for the readers. Among many experiments those could be found:
- talking newspaper (30 sec clip, embedded in the little chip included in the newspaper – dramatic impact)
- coloured newspaper (played with the colours of the front page – rycycled paper)
- sample sticking
- envelopes (special large envelopes for the newspapers
- page disruptions (untypical ads
- super panorama
- special paper foil
- water mark
- scratch cards
What advertisers are looking for is reach and impact. In order to imagine that it would be enough to think about its reach and multiply it by the impact the ads may have.
Innovation helps increase margins and market share,. The company generated 4% of the total revenues from innovations.
Builds loyalty and repeat business by providing greater results than traditional advertising.
Innovation needs to be measured and be pursued with great rigor as they don’t happen by chance.
The Huffington Post has changed the rules of publishing in its eight short years of operation as a news, blog and original content Web site: a clear point of view, citizen-powered contributions, clever traffic generation, social media infusion, sponsored content, and both more localised and global news. Arianna Huffington spoke during the INMA World Congress 2013 about the three trends that are dominating the media world today.
This speech took place not long after the launch of Huffington Post in Germany in cooperation with Burda was announced.
Arianna Huffington does not believe in quick doom of the press. But she definitely believes in the value of journalism, what was stressed in her speech many times. She addressed 3 trends dominating the world of media nowadays:
1. Moving from presentation to participation. In the heart of everything lies the engagement. People want to be heard, be it personal information, political or any other – people want to share it. This is effecting the media today. Arianna does not say it’s a harm for newspapers. It’s a process of changing where newspapers are moving digital, and pure players are adopting best journalism practices.
One of the proofs for this shift could be the latest Pulitzer awards, where New York Times won the award for the digital performance (the article about avalanches), and a pure player such as Huffington Post won the award for best story. Media nowadays are focusing not only on what needs to be exposed, but also on what needs to be spotlighted and has a value to community. This can be seen on Huffington Post in different sections, with different reading value proposition.
Huffington Post also is moving from presentation to participation. At first, the goal was to make everyone possible come to the HuffPo website, now this goal has changed – they want their content to be everywhere, be it mobile, Facebook, anywhere. Building brand became top priority. And brands are facing problems: they can often have a great website, but the key problem for them is how to make it live and interactive.
2. There’s a snake in the garden. This snake is the problem with fetishizing virality by today’s media. Publishers often don’t know the difference between what is viral, and what could really have value. Lots of virals according to Arianna are simply thrash. It raises hyperconnection, and in a hyperconnected world we are losing the ability to connect with ourselves, said Arianna Huffington.
Publishers must protect their relevance. The way to keep being relevant is to keep innovating.
3. Search. More and more people are searching not only for information, but also for meaning and explanation. That kind of stories resonate with people. Huffington Post together with many other big players understand that. Journalists should strive to be a journalistic enterprise and a platform at the same time.
Arianna Huffington recognizes where the attention of big media goes. She addressed the problem of paywalls by saying there is a pay for introducing paywalls, which is a drop in traffic. But it’s neither wrong or bad – publishers need to calculate whether that kind of strategy is economically good for them. They have to look at the trade off. Every big story is an opportunity to add readers/viewers. Every big story has a cummulative effect. For example, Huffington Post gained over 400.000 new readers from their coverage of the Boston bombing. She knows not all of them will stay with Huffington Post, but a percent of them – yes.
She believes consumers want differentiated product, they don’t want the same product from different brands. Therefore journalism should not be a competitive environment.
Publishers can disrupt the digital disruptors with a risk-taking mindset that builds on existing platforms, seeks out adjacent possibilities, and shows a willingness to disrupt yourself before competitors do. Based on his book released in February 2013 ( Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation), James L. McQuivey showed at the INMA World Congress 2013 the strategic architecture for implementing innovation at legacy companies based on a decade of research of traditional industries, including newspapers.
McQuivey began his presentation by saying that publishers are not the only ones that are hit by digital, and publishing business is not alone forced to restructurize because of digital. A perfect example could be banking, that as an industry, has been dirupted many times. The traditional queues are gone thanks to the ATMs, and instead of going to the bank with a check, anyone can take a picture of it with an app and just wait for the wire transfer. ATMs however, did not change the relationship of the bank with its clients – the mechanism was identical as before, people still were using ATMs for the same reason as they stood in lines to the bank. What is a real disruptor, are apps – they change relationship with a client, forcing him to do more activities: take picture, check the account, manage it and so on).
Once publishers go digital, they should explore digital experience with their readers. At first (just as banks and ATMs) the disruption made newspapers move their articles and pics to the web. Now it’s time for building relationship and reinventing the business.
Lessons from the banking industry:
- consumers are ready to do a wide arrange of things. They have devices, know how to use it. They know they are being watched and want publishers to learn their preferences
- the cost to disrupt is falling.
The results when publishers go digital are – according to McQuivey – “more of everything”: more content on more devices, distributed to more audiences, and more often. Digital disruption is better, stronger, faster
Today’s digital disruption means many more people coming to entrepreneurs at a much lower cost. The result is many many more ideas – sometimes small, sometimes very big. Some of them are the ones publishers are competing nowadays with like Facebook, eBay, Amazon. Publishers should think where are they located in this environment.
Tablets in this process are a symptom, not a cause of disruption. iPad (tablets) is allowing consumers and disruptors work together. The device alone would not be able to do this. What makes it even more complex is the fact that customers and employees have already invested in those gadgets.
Digital disruption is built on digital platforms: devices lay that fundation, software builds experience on top of it, and consumers believe in that. Digital platforms provide the infrastructure for the digital disrupted economy.
Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Google are the 5 platforms vying for consumer control. None of them have the same business model. Those are very different businesses all trying to do the same thing – build digital platform. And this is a hint for publishers: they should disrupt digitally their products and their processes. It can be done in 3 steps:
Step 1: Harness digital consumers. Final consumers have power nowadays. Thinking of revenues and advertising is important, but doing so without thinking of consumers will end up as a failure.
Step 2: Generate more ideas more quickly by innovating the adjacent possible. Think ahead .
Step 3: Deliver total product experiences. Total product experience goes beyond traditional boundaries of the product: onto new platforms, during new moments and new times of a day, leading to deeper, more measurable customer engagement and satisfaction.
There are questions that publishers need to answer:
- how to create an ongoing digital relationship?
- how to generate more ideas more quickly?
- what does the total product experience look like?
- what partners will get them there more quickly?
Publishers should not be afraid of disruption and become the disruptors themselves. The path to disruption should begin with a senior level commitment to making digital everyone’s job, and next disrupting the process in order to disrupt the product.
McQuivey finished his presentation with a tip: Don’t build the future. Build the next thing and let the future find you.
April 28, 2013 by marek.miller
The rapid development of alternative revenue streams for news publishers means an entirely new vocabulary and business models that legacy executives must learn from scratch. During the pre-conference seminar of the INMA 2013 World Congress, Kirk MacDonald, Executive Vice President of Digital First Media talked about the emerging value propositions behind local advertising networks, and why digital platforms such as search, mobile, social, e-mail and video hold the key to future digital growth.
Kirk MacDonald started with a quote from Seth Godin: “Talent hits a target noone else can hit, and genius hits a target noone else can see”. Newspaper business used to be a simple one. Digital business is something that requires continuous learning till the end of publishers’ career – said the speaker.
The numbers that are behind Digital First Media, prove their strategy to be on the right track. In their 75 dailies, they have 50 million monthly readers. They generate 302 million pageviews a month. 2,1 million Twitter followers and almost a million Facebook fans shows, how important are social media to both the company and its clients. In their AdTaxi Network they are selling 1600 multimedia campaigns in their 75 newspapers. This business is growing for Digital First Media at the pace of 200 campaigns a month.
The digital gadgets are important nowadays. It is important to have those to understand how people consume information and use the devices. Mobile is the backbone of digital media today.
MacDonald also stressed the importance of social media, which growth is not slowing down. LinkedIn is one of the groups that’s definitely going to grow. Linking professionals will be popular for along time to go. Understanding Twitter and LinkedIn is crucial for publishers to build new revenue models. It can be done, and is done by Digital First Media – thanks to partnerships with Twitter and LinkedIn. There’s a big money to that. Publishers need to include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in their advertising offers.
We are living in a multi-screen world. TV is no more the main screen. Search makes the connection between the devices. While watching a TV, commercial or programme, the curiosity of the viewer is awaken – and that’s when search comes in handy. Marcela Tonelo from Google, who backed MacDonald in his presentation, said that more than 6 percent of the search comes from what had been seen or read just a few seconds before.
Our time is spread between 4 primary media devices (6% – mobile, 17% – tablet, 30% – tablet, 40% – laptop). Media consumption is now driven by context. Mobile devices are mostly characterized by local searches – people search for local information. Media consumption is changing, and so is advertising. 19 percent of advertising investments go to mobile. Marcela Tonelo believes it’s going to continue growing.
Digital First Media is also selling Search. According to MacDonald, it’s not possible to grow 30-40 per cent without good search business. Many publishers would say it is a low margin business, but they also should remember that 85% of Google’s income comes from search. Selling search is not easy, and it’s concepts are hard. Digital First Media noticed that 35% of searches had local intent. That’s why they focus on selling paid search and search engine optimization.
There are four things to do according to MacDonald – they are easy to remember, but hard to be played well on the high level. Those lessons are:
- optimize the keywords
- optimize ad extensions: make ads more interesting, by adding i.e. location extensions, call extensions, site extensions (site links)
- landing page selection (land your consumers where they need to be guided)
- ad copy
Digital fluency means understanding this all. “In print advertising, all work is done before the sale, in digital advertising, all work is done after the sale” – concluded MacDonald.
March 19, 2013 by marek.miller
Matt Skibinski, Vice President of Affiliate Relations, Press+, talked during the Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin about the best practices, and steps that publishers take to make paid models successful.
Believe it or not, no publisher has lost any display ad revenue while selling digital subscriptions according to Skibinski. The many affiliates of Press+ platform (all to be seen on the picture included) learned that:
- it is possible to keep your online digital advertising revenue as you gain online circulation revenue
- it is possible to keep your online visitors and your voice as you add some digital subscribers
- you can defend and strengthen your print franchise without building a harsh paywall
Press+ allows publishers to dip a toe in the water rather than jump off a cliff with an etherior paywall.
30% of sales on digital subscription sites come from pop-ups explaining pay wall is in place.
For most brands the metered model should be 10 or less. The meter has to be low enough that a subscription is valuable to readers. At the same time it has to be low enough to cast a wide net. High meter (anything higher than 10) significantly narrows the number of visitors who see the lightbox screens, let alone who are stopped from the access.
The average price of digital content across the affiliate sites continues to rise.
Trial pricing significantly improves sales. Majority of Press+ affiliates (over 75%) offer a trial rate of $0,99 for the first month. After that users’ subscriptions automatically convert to a full month rate. Within 6 months they saw 52% increase in the total value of digital subs.
Subscribers want all digital access. It is another component of the model, which allows publishers to charge more for their products and still sell more digital subscriptions than those who sell web-only subscriptions.
Print-digital bundles are a big opportunity. Dozens of Press+ affiliates have used “opt-out” print-digital bundle offers to immediately boost circulation revenue up to 15%. Print subscribers are automatically enrolled in the digital subs for an extra cost unless they decide to opt-out. Publishers with print-digital bundles see better print subscriber retention after launching print/digital bundles.
The more compelling metering messages, the better the sales will be. Publishers can do it by: advertising new offers, strong emphasis on the end of the trial period.
March 19, 2013 by marek.miller
It’s still not easy, but subscriptions to digital content can work. Paul Smurl, Vice President, The New York Times Company, spoke at the Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin about the NYT’s experience in embracing paid content strategy.
Introducing paywall at The New York Times was a long process, with years in the making. They started with international subscriptions (1996-98), built a not so successful Times Select (2005-07). Despite the efforts, when the global recession came in 2009, all advertising income went down. Something had to be done.
Paul Smurl said, that the answer to question about how to drive value from main asset was to ask people to pay. After three researches ( New York Times didn’t believe the answers), the company decided to introduce the paywall. According to the researches, more than half of heavy users stated they would be willing to pay something for the content. The metered paywall model was launched in March 2011.
1. optimizing across the business. In 2009 started with web-only kind of approach which was a mistake, as they thought only about this platform. They changed their mindsets and started to think about it around the whole business, in bundles.
2. listen to readers and take their guidance. Rounds and rounds of research, in person. It should be crucial to publishers to take readers through their plan, whatever it could be.
3. becoming an e-tailer. NYT spent a lot of time to build own e-commerce system. Paul Smurl said that only because you’re selling subscriptions in print, doesn’t mean you know how to do it digitally. In case of New York Times, the numbers prove the strategy to be right:
After the first year New York Times was told it would be going to go flat. But they’re still growing and the trend seems to be correct. What is also important, 80 percent of print readers connected their subscriptions to digital ones.
Paul Smurl recognized 10 most important actions contributing to the growth of NYT subscriptions growth:
- Canada pre-launch
- Education rate (special offer for student, teachers so on)
- Apple Newsstand (2 clicks away, promotions, front screen)
- Gift subscriptions
- Propensity model
- MEU conversion (most engaged users – free subscription for a year)
- Gateway to 10 articles
- Corporate accounts (group subscriptions)
- Flipboard deal
- Billing improvements (credit card systems)
- Black Friday/Cyber Monday (people expect to see a deal on one day a year)
4. turning advertising threat into opportunity. A lot is answered in the TV ad below. New York Times still has around 30 Million U.S. uniques from desktop (and that number didn’t tank after the paywall)
5. enable a brand relationship. New York Times spent lot of time in making it easy for users to connect to the site. The circulation revenue up thanks to digital paymodel
New York Times believes that opportunity lies in new products, and new price points. The plans for the NYT are:
- introduce new paid products
- further balance free/paid
- tighten avoidence loopholes
- improve international conversion
- expand distribution
Paul Smurl ended his presentation saying: “Remember, you’ve got a part of the audience who is willing to pay and value your content. It’s a matter of asking them for it respectively.”