In the middle of the pandemic, Amedia asked subscribers whether they were interested in news from other regions in Norway. The results were so promising, the company launched in May a paid upgrade offer.
- The new digital-only bundle is named simply “+Alt” (“+Everything”).
- Since May 18, subscribers to any of more than 70 local and regional news sites, published by Amedia, can upgrade to the Everything bundle priced at US$25.90.
- The additive cost of an upgrade depends on the rate they currently enjoy — readers of a small local newspaper Lier Posten pay US$11.30 monthly for the digital-only plan, so they need to pay more than double the rate to enjoy everything.
- Readers of a larger regional newspaper Drammens Tidende US$22.80 monthly, so for them the upgrade costs just US$3.
In the interview with INMA, Executive Vice-President Pål Nedregotten revealed the company has been playing the idea of a multi-title bundle for many years: “We thought a lot how we can increase engagement of our subscribers.”
In 2018, it made the first experiment: A selected group of subscribers to their newspapers in northern Norway got an e-mail with an offer to pay for access to other news sites. Those who expressed an interest got a message: “We don’t have a product yet, but here’s a free access to other news sites for six months.
“We wanted to test a concept in the market without spending a penny on development. We learned this trick from the Financial Times,” Nedregotten explained.
In the autumn of 2019, Amedia launched a number of experiments — testing different selling points and prices — planning to scale the project in 2020.
The right time came when the pandemic hit Norway in March, and the local newspapers observed a spike in traffic.
“We stopped the tests,and just offered a Norwegian audience an opt-in free trial until May 1. It was a resounding success: Out of 600,000 subscribers, 175,000 signed up for the trial,” Nedregotten said.
All news sites of Amedia use the same identity solution called aID, a cornerstone of the company’s first-party data strategy, so an upgraded reader basically uses the same login to access any Amedia site.
At this point, there is no aggregated news feed, Web site, or an app for Amedia content across the regions. The company has created such a Web site for video streams from the local sports games across the country.
“In this phase, we focus on making the ‘+Alt’ offer work. In the next phase, we will explore how to aggregate and present content, for example in the form of personalised news feeds and newsletters,” Nedregotten said.
Although he didn’t share the results for the first fortnight, he said that the uptake has been high: “We had an ambitious goal that we wished to reach by summer, and we are reaching it in a week.”
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Banner image courtesy of Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.