Digital Subscriptions, Paid Content, Paywalls

Digital subscriptions: 8 Takeaways from Tagesspiegel

24 Sep, 2020 - 6 minutes read
Digital subscriptions: 8 Takeaways from Tagesspiegel

In this article, we cover the key findings of the digital subscription strategies of the last FIPP Insider Webinar.

Caspar Seibert, Head of Digital Marketing at Tagesspiegel, and our Managing Director York Walterscheid were guests at the FIPP Insider Webinar. Together with James Hewes, CEO of FIPP, who hosted the webinar, they shared industry insights and discussed best practices for digital subscription strategies.

Here we list the eight main points from the webinar’s discussion:

1. Growth opportunities for digital subscriptions

The opportunity for growth in the area of ​​digital subscriptions is currently very high due to the increased interest in the news. Influenced by two events in the last five years, such as the election of Donald Trump and the Covid-19 pandemic, many newspapers were able to record almost double the number of impressions, visits, and digital subscriptions.

The growth opportunities of digital subscriptions are almost equal for international, national, and regional newspapers. That means that newspaper publishers who are not yet working with paid content strategies have good reason to start now.

2. No Cannibalization of print

Print subscriptions are not going to be cannibalized by digital subscriptions. Which is contrary to the concerns of some in the publishing industry. With a digital subscription strategy, you can win even completely new subscribers who have never had a print subscription before. The trend is just changing. As a publisher, you should consider how to convert online users into digital subscribers rather than trying to switch print readers to digital.

3. No saturation point on digital subscriptions

There is no real saturation point right now on digital subscriptions. Online users are already used to subscribing to digital offers, whether it is for entertainment, software, or for news. And they usually have not just one online subscription. That means that readers are already accepting digital subscriptions for news sites.

However, most publishers have only just started using smart paywalls, and there is still great potential to be expected. The decline in advertising revenue becomes more apparent. Whereas digital subscriptions are becoming increasingly relevant for the future revenue mix and monetization strategies for the digital news business.

4. Preparation phase before starting

Before starting with a paid content strategy, plan your time and resources because it’s quite a project and not always easy to implement and to get started.

Above all, a perfect fit for the new paid content software with all the different components of your publishing software like CMS, Ad-Servers, ERP system, CRM, BI tools, and a lot of other tools lays the foundation for good performance.

Furthermore, it is important to find a paid content software that offers smart paywalls with all paid content models and personalization. That enables you to display the right offer at the right time to engage your readers. And finally to guide them into a subscription.

5. How to start when you start

In the beginning, you should decide on a paid content strategy. it is important to take into consideration what readers are used to. Because readers do not want to learn a new paid content model with every publisher. Once they are used to a model it is more likely they will stick with it.

For example, the freemium model is the most successful and most common in the German-speaking market. Freemium means that free articles are offered alongside paid ones. Free articles usually prepare for the more exciting premium articles that provide more information about the background. For this reason, the advantage of freemium is that readers are made curious about the paid content and motivate them to subscribe. Furthermore, it enables publishers to see which articles convert the most to registrations or subscriptions.

6. The first weeks

In the first few weeks, it is mainly your loyal readership base that subscribes to a new subscription model. But what happens to the rest of your readers?

Undoubtedly the most effective way to win new subscribers is to get to know and understand your readers.

At this point audience development and reader-engagement come into play.  With tracking and segmenting anonymous and registered readers you can start with personalized actions on the path to a subscription. Once readers are registered for your news site or subscribed for your newsletter, it is much easier to engage and to convert them into a paying subscriber later on.

7. How to convince your readers to subscribe?

The first step in convincing readers is to show them that your digital content has a value that is worth paying. Publishers need to convey their value proposition and create a brand that their readers can identify with. To see what works best for your readers, test different offers, and experiment with prices and bundles. However, the most effective way to convince your readers is and remains the quality of your content offered.

8. Make it easy to subscribe for your content

Once readers are convinced to pay for your content, a simple buying process is crucial for a successful subscription. The abandonment rate is unnecessarily high and should be reduced to a minimum. You need to be aware of a few things.

Consider that the checkout process should be as short and convenient as possible. Offer payment options that your readers are familiar with to pay online. Make the prices and conditions of your subscription offer transparent and easy to understand. Send payment reminders to your paying readers before a subscription renewal. Simplify the registration and login process.

Create all steps a user has to take to subscribe easily and make the processes as user-friendly as possible.

increase your digital subscriptions

The next FIPP Insider Webinar:

The next FIPP Insider Webinar will take place on the occasion of the FIPP World Media Congress 2020 on 29 September 2020 at 3 PM CET.

There James Hewes will guide you through the Global Digital Subscription Snapshot Report with the current figures and talk to York Walterscheid and Marc Isler from the Swiss Tamedia about their digital subscription strategies and cross-selling opportunities.

Be curious about new insights and best practices and join for the free webinar

Find the video from the last FIPP Insider Webinar here:

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