Publishers are already wise to the opportunities of capturing considerable market share from mobile. At Fairfax, for example, we’ve had 1.2 million downloads for our three iPad apps (Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and Canberra Times) since we launched them three years ago.
We began using a freemium subscription model for news on July 2, one that was adopted internationally two months earlier. We hope to see both subscription and advertising revenues from our smartphone strategy. We have a place for every type of reader — full subscription and levels short of that.
In these very early days, it’s been fantastic.
As we planned our smartphone strategy, we carefully considered usage trends to make the most of the smartphone opportunity. For many people in Australia, the last thing you do at night is look at your mobile phone. Some people even use it in bed or in the shower. They look at it many times an hour.
So we’re trying to legitimately insert ourselves into the most mobile hours, make the most of them, and legitimise the organisation as a publisher.
We want to meet their needs.
Mobile initiates a consumer shift. I believe there will be multiple avenues for connecting in the future....[more]
02 December 2013 · By Jeremy Bryant
As the story goes, when the automotive company Chevrolet looked to market its line of Chevy Nova vehicles in Latin America, it was a disaster … because “No va” in Spanish literally means “doesn’t go.”
The tale is an urban legend, but it underscores the most important dynamic of effective brand marketing: Know your audience.
At Metro, we call our audience “Metropolitans.” Our biggest aim is not to be their best friend — it’s to know them so well, we are the experts.
Knowing this young, active urbanite not only supports our brand perception — “you are who you reach” — but it also allows us to precisely target our campaigns and refine our content for readers’ tastes.
But as Metropolitans are a fast-changing breed, claiming to know them from what you learned 10 years, five years, even two years ago, would be plain wrong. The profile that brands identify as their target is evolving at a much faster pace than they’d expect.
To be experts in Metropolitans, we are constantly updating our insights. And, in the true sprit of Metro, this year we fully embraced the ethos of one of the pillars of Metro: to always be where Metropolitans are.
Of course we meet them everyday on the subway, on the bus, in their offices, on their phones, and at their desks with Metro.
But with the most recent edition of the “Metropolitan Report,” for the first time ever, we also were there when they logged onto Facebook, commented on a blog post, or Tweeted out to their followers — when they are most “themselves,” openly expressing their likes and dislikes, flops and victories, guilty pleasures and best characteristics....[more]
26 November 2013 · By Suresh Srinivasan
Excellence is not a destination, nor is it an outcome. It is more an attitude and should be a corporation’s way of life.
Pursuit of excellence should become an intrinsic part of our sales approach. Ad excellence is all about providing advertisers with a value proposition by complementing their solution-seeking mindset.
Audience engagement initiatives developed by media corporations that are holistic and format- neutral best demonstrates their commitment to customers’ success.
At The Hindu, advertising excellence is encoded in our DNA. Making the customer successful is the key mantra that drives our sales force. I wish to share a very unique case of an innovative, tactical, format-neutral advertising programme, wherein we co-created value for the customer.
The case study is from Kerala, a southern Indian state also referred to as “God’s own country.” Kerala has many unique characters that contrast with the rest of India. For starters, it’s the most literate state (93.91% as per the 2011 census), and boasts of a discerning audience with a very high propensity to consume.
The state of Kerala has a growing industrial landscape. It is perceived to be a land of opportunities with a myriad of hues. It is a market dominated by two Malayala-language dailies, Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhoomi, which account for 90% of the total reach of print.
The penetration of English in the overall print delivery is considered insignificant at little more than 10%.
The Hindu, our flagship brand at approximately 0.23 million copies, delivers approximately 5% of the total print audience in Kerala. These are numbers that make any media planner skeptical about including a brand in any campaign’s “consideration set.”
The state government of Kerala plans one of the biggest shopping events in Asia called Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF). The event is an annual affair with the participation of 5,000 small- and medium-sized retail enterprises, spanning 45 days (December 15 –through January 31). Customer appreciation gifts include 101 kilograms of gold.
The event is conducted like a festival across Kerala. The state government’s objective is to create a second shopping season after Onam, the traditonal harvest festival. The revenue garnered by the state government through tax collection alone is close to 900 crores.
Our mandate was to give this event the maximum visibility and ensure the objectives of revenue generation and publicity were met effectively. The gravity of the task was significant. We needed an innovative approach to creating buzz around the event and ensure its success.
An integrated campaign comprised of print + magazines (jackets and full-page advertisement for maximum impact) will lend a multiplier effect to the campaign. In addition to these traditional offerings, we also beefed up the media plan with fairly robust online offerings including a micro-site and flash banners.
This resulted in maximum share of voice for the campaign. The Grand Kerala Shopping Festival was grand success, so much so that the “best performance media award” was given to The Hindu group of publications.
The lesson to take away is that it does not matter how small a brand is. What’s more important is how strikingly it can deliver value. The limited reach of our English print did not handicap us. The so-called handicap in this market is, in fact, what spurred us to think of newer ways to engage audiences.
We carefully orchestrated an integrated media plan that provided a surround effect. The mix of print + magazines + online also caused a viral effect that benefitted the campaign.
The success of any campaign is not only about numbers delivered by media platforms, but how innovatively these platforms are woven together to make a convincing and compelling story. In other words, innovation and imagination are the keys to success.
Globally, marketing heads are constrained with limited or depleting ad spends, cluttered markets, and a fragmented consumer mind space. It’s imperative that executives re-engineer their communication mix by putting traditional practices of brand- building campaigns on the back burner, giving more preference to innovative, tactical, and sales-led advertising.
These are times in which advertisers are seeking ways to not only measure return on every marketing rupee, but also aim to engage their consumers more deeply and meaningfully.
Simply put, our clients’ business mantra is to sell more to more people, more often at more locations and, in the current circumstances, in the most cost-effective manner. We, as a media sales organisation, need to change our sales approach to vastly increase the number of relevant consumer engagement propositions that will enable our business associates to achieve their business goals.
20 November 2013 · By Harold Grönke
In this industry, many of us are asking where we should go with video.
I think we have to forget about regular video advertising as a serious revenue stream — at least in Germany. “Video” is not only about live video. It’s about live coverage wherever you can get it.
Verlag Dierichs is a regional news company in the middle of Germany with a 160,000 daily newspaper circulation, more than four million online visits per month, a Web radio presence, and significant video activities. We serve a market of 1.5 million people.
As Part of the Ippen Group, Verlag Dierichs is the No. 1 German regional newspaper in the area of local videos. We were the first regional newspaper in Germany to cover/stream live events, and we have the most active YouTube channel of all regional newspapers in Germany (although we are still not in the top-100 in all Germany videos on the channel).
National video advertising revenue for regional newspapers in Germany is far below €100,000 per month (which hardly covers the streaming cost). Even the most successful regional newspapers in Germany are far below €5,000 revenue share per month, with most participating Web sites between three- and two-digit revenue numbers.
Video advertising rates per 1,000 views are high. But too few users are consuming videos, either because they are omnipresent or because the audience is too small. We earned US$700 from YouTube last month.
Production cost of unique video content is simply too high compared to the money you can make from it. And I see no indication this situation will change.
However, we can’t neglect video, of course, because it will be a relevant part of news in the tablet and smartphone era. Even if it does not make money right, we must work hard at it. Otherwise, we miss a serious chance.
So, are there other revenue opportunities for video?
We think so. With our current strategy, we have brought in nearly six-digit revenues with video this year....[more]
19 November 2013 · By Lee Fels
At The Guardian, the revenue outlook for mobile Web and mobile apps for the smartphone is extremely positive.
Smartphones are enabling us to grow our reach and continue our editorial and commercial dialogue with our users throughout the day, in times when we might not have previously been able to reach them.
Where once we were the ninth-largest newspaper in the United Kingdom, we are now, across all platforms, the third-largest global English-language news publisher.
Smartphone is a critical part of this.
The “freemium” model: Recently, we released a “freemium” model for smartphone apps, so we can monetise users both from subscriber and advertising perspectives, depending on their preference.
The freemium model gives paying users premium features, such as an advertising-free version of the company’s apps.
Native advertising: We also are exploring native advertising formats within our smartphone apps and recently released this technology on our desktop site.
This is an important evolution in the smartphone creative conundrum, by which we have to take into account screen size and user experience vs. the desire for greater advertiser prominence.
Native ads will allow us to produce formats that are bigger and bolder but offer seamless integration as opposed to interruption. This can only bring benefits to brands.
Responsive design: In addition, we are in the process of building a responsive design site that will bring much anticipated responsive advertising and its positive revenue impact on the smartphone.
Aside from a lack of optimised sites, one of the most commonly cited reasons for lack of client spend on mobile is advertisers not having the budget, or creative agencies not having the time, to build additional mobile creative.
If the advertiser is able to use one creative that will scale according to screen size, we are able to remove this impediment and serve campaigns across our digital users.
Further to this, we believe media will migrate audiences, not platforms, and responsive creative will mean we can much more seamlessly target the user across our digital platforms.
Banner advertising: To date, banner advertising has been the mainstay of The Guardian’s smartphone revenue. We have seen tremendous growth here, with 55% revenue growth during the past financial year and 85% year-over-year growth....[more]
17 November 2013 · By Darrell Dawson
In recent years, The Columbus Dispatch has given its readers new apps, a redesigned Web site, Facebook pages, and Twitter feeds galore. We understand that constant innovation in the digital space is mandatory.
But we took a look at our roster of products and found there was still room to innovate in print, as well — even if it meant totally remaking the newspaper readers have loved for 142 years.
In September 2012, after much discussion, The Columbus Dispatch was scheduled to move from a broadsheet to a brand-new, first-in-the-world format that, at 10.5 inches wide by 14.5 inches deep, feels more like a magazine.
In our marketing campaign, we called the new-look Dispatch “Formatted For Life.”
Why? Because it took into account the way people consume media in the 21st century. The new size would also enable readers to more easily handle and travel with the newspaper.
One focus-group participant remarked how it would allow him to see his wife across the breakfast table in the morning. One said the new format reminded him of an iPad.
Central Ohioans were also going to get a better overall reading experience, with more vibrant colour and better sectioning. This wasn’t a move to a tabloid — the sections of a traditional broadsheet were to remain. We even added Business and Nation & World sections to the daily newspaper at a time when many other newspapers are cutting sections.
Most importantly, the news hole was to remain the same.
Obviously, this new format was something we wanted to shout about. But we also had to prepare our overall readership for the change after 140+ years in essentially the same format.
We brought in an outside agency to create TV spots, print ads, and other materials. A Web site about the “new” Dispatch, FormattedForLife.com, was also created as an informational hub. It included a blog from our editor, a way for folks to sign up for a free trial when the new format launched, and more....[more]
12 November 2013 · By Dylan Wyn Pugh
Independently verified and de-duplicated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for the second year running, it tells a good story, showing year-on-year growth and healthy weekly audience figures of 4.574 million and 3.449 million for the daily and Sunday titles respectively.
But this is no overnight success.
The strategy we are implementing today at News UK across all our brands started for The Times and The Sunday Times back in 2010. This focused in large part on recognising that the appeal of news brands lies in their authority and brand identity.
It is no secret the national press market in the United Kingdom employs a range of different commercial models, with some brands bearing little similarity among their platforms other than a masthead.
What we believe clearly unifies our audience’s primary reason for consumption of our quality titles is a trusted “curated edition of the news.” Our consumers want the voice of our titles wherever they’re reading them, and that’s what makes them engage with that title in a unique way.
This edition-led strategy is what we champion for both our consumers and our advertisers.
With the proliferation of tablets and smartphones, we have seen the consumption habits of our audience evolving rapidly. Because of this, our challenge has been focused around how we deliver this consistent, edition-led experience across multiple platforms so our audience can select the platform of choice to suit their particular needs at the time of consumption....[more]
11 November 2013 · By Miller Hogg
Archant entered the app world in January 2012. Like every other publisher, we signed up with an agency to produce replica app versions of our magazines and newspapers from PDF.
We trailled non-replica, paid-content apps, as well as some free, image-led versions. We found the free, image-led solution outperformed the former in both downloads and engagement metrics.
This led to a strategy that remains today. We did not enhance our replica edition apps, instead leaving them to be found via the App Store and complement that with promotion of bundles that include digital through our own subscription Web site.
We then launched into a rollout of the image-led, advertising-supported apps. These apps would focus on interest, utilising beautiful imagery to inspire our readers. We combined that imagery with a narrative, video, in-app browser support, and GPS location services.
Interestingly, these “topic”-based apps often would not be led directly by the brand name of our magazines and newspapers. This naturally enabled us to open the door to the rest of our business. We got involved in selling to relevant advertisers outside the immediate, and possibly smaller, world than that in which our magazines would operate.
The engagement of our replica app readership is extremely encouraging. Unique visitors average 2.2 visits and read more than 100 pages per month, per user — without enhancement. However, we have so far held back from selling this as an advertising platform and instead are testing and learning the habits of the audience before embarking on that journey.
On the other hand, our alternative image/topic-led solution (approximately 90 now live) has produced £600,000 in ad revenues in their first year. We are investing in this platform and have developed an “app factory” with its own CMS for advertiser self-serve, Web app, push alerts, vouchers, and daily deals. All of this will roll out extensively in 2014.
Our annualised run rate of sales now stands at £1 million, from which we intend to reverse publish and develop the advertiser message into a multi-channel experience. It will span apps, Web apps, Web sites, newsletters, social media. And, in some cases, it will lead back into special print publications....[more]
10 November 2013 · By Christian Stavik
For a long time, our media house was stuck in familiar discussions: Are stories to be published on the Web or exclusive in print articles? And if they are online, are they digital first? Or do we break the story in print and then publish a digital version?
For years, the trend has been clear. Readers and money move from print to digital. The problem is that readers and money do not necessarily move to our digital channel, and the eternal discussions has forced us to develop digital with print strongly in mind.
Such discussions meant that digital channels were secondary, while print was our prestige product.
At Fædrelandsvennen, we think this was both difficult and counter-productive. Simple and conservative projections showed that with our existing business model, all profits will be lost within three to five years.
Together with the president of Schibsted Norway Digital, Stig Waagbø, we looked at several alternative models. Our philosophy was that readers are willing to pay for content, but with the expectation that they can access it anywhere once they have paid.
With this background, we held onto the simple idea of bundling products together in one package. You pay once and, in exchange, get all of our products — digital and print. It’s easy to understand, easy to communicate, and easy to sell.
The idea seemed constructive and easy to communicate, so we launched the project early 2011. We focused on our core positioning and what drives customers to choose us, which helped us clarify what our core actually is.
With our basic position in place, we developed new strategies for editorial content, design, and brand. We also had to tackle the Norwegian tax legislation and made tough choices on our digital payment model. Our options were a metered model or a freemium model.
We started with a deal that sold the brand as one bundled package, with the primary goal of enhancing our product for existing customers. We wanted to showcase that we have a payment system and that digital content has value.
With a metered model, traffic analysis showed we must turn the number of article views available to a very low setting if we were to be perceived as a pay product. More qualitative research clearly showed what content we could charge for: Local stories are the most read and most exclusive cases we have to offer.
The analysis pointed to several factors that convinced us the freemium model was the right choice on the basis of our position and our content:
- It is easy to communicate to our customers.
- A solution with a free space and a paid area meant major internal challenges in creating the right content for digital platforms, paid and open.
- The positive aspect of the challenge meant adjusting more content to digital platforms, not just publishing newspaper articles online.
Our print product was kept separate from this project. In retrospect, this appears to have been the right decision. Projects that include print tend to act only on print. The industry and the media house’s main challenge is not to make a good newspaper — it is becoming digital enough, fast enough....[more]
07 November 2013 · By Jim Fleigner
It is always challenging for newspapers to consider strategic change with no reasonable measure of the potential impact.
Acquisition optimisation can help newspapers wring greater productivity out of their investment in subscriber acquisition by creating a value-based blueprint that explicitly apportions acquisition investment dollars based on projected rates of return — at a micro-targeted level. Actual performance can be tracked against that blueprint on a monthly basis.
Recently, one top-50 U.S. newspaper, hereafter referred to as “XYZ,” quantified the improvement of its acquisition performance following adoption of optimisation techniques in mid-2012. XYZ also wanted to compare those improvement to investment in intellectual and informational assets necessary for proper optimisation.
By quantifying its improvements, XYZ found that:
- It was able to reduce its acquisition investment by 15% from US$4.9 million to US$4.1 million. As a result, the number of annual starts fell from 110,000 to 97,000.
- In spite of the reduction in starts, XYZ was able to increase its cumulative lifetime net margin surplus from those starts 10-fold, from US$200,000 annually to more than US$2 million annually. This resulted in an increase in the return on its acquisition investment from about 15% to well over 200%.
- The number of insufficient starts (i.e., those not generating a sufficient rate of return) fell from 72% to 37% of all paid starts.
- These incremental annual profits were 25 to 40 times greater than the company’s annual investment in optimisation services, making the investment highly valuable.