A decade ago, the launch of the Swedish news app Omni gave consumers a way to access the news they were looking for — and it became one of Sweden’s largest news aggregation services.
Offering news from Swedish and international media, as well as social media and live broadcasts, readers quickly connected with it and began relying on it to provide their daily news. In 2022 alone, Omni enjoyed more than two billion pageviews and boasted an average of almost six million sessions a week — impressive numbers, particularly given that the country has a population of about 10 million.
Based on an advertising-driven model built around native advertising, Omni has successfully generated revenue. But as the industry and reader needs have changed, the company wanted to find new ways to generate revenue and future-proof the business model.
In 2020, the company began looking at how readers’ habits and behaviours are changing and how it could improve the existing product while hopefully expanding its audience.
Listening to readers
The quest to give readers what they want and need began with listening to them, not making assumptions. Omni’s audience comprises younger, forward-thinking readers and, just as with the creation of the app a decade earlier, Omni wanted to learn what challenges they faced and what solutions would be most useful to them.
The feedback provided a clear outline for the Omni team, as it discovered some of the key things readers were interested in:
- A smart solution for consolidating paywalls.
- More explainers and background to news stories.
- More in-depth reading options, including international stories.
- An ad-free option.
With these priorities in mind, the development team set out to create a new product, and readers remained an important part of the development process. Omni wanted to provide a premium product for paying subscribers without sacrificing features or quality for those who chose to continue using the free version.
Giving readers more
Omni Mer launched in February 2022, offering an additional service that checked the boxes the readers had asked for. By charging a monthly fee, it is able to give users an ad-free experience, and it also consolidates multiple international media paywalls so readers can access all the content they are interested in.
As requested, Omni Mer readers are given additional facts, explainers, and background to news stories, and experts weigh in with their perspectives on certain topics. The app also encourages additional in-depth reading from international media companies, including The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Der Spiegel, and more.
The new app has been embraced by users, attracting more than 16,200 members who have consumed over four million Omni Mer deep-dive stories. The app has also opened up paid access to more than 20,000 international premium articles.
Changing the financial model
In addition to changing the way users consume articles, Omni Mer has lessened Omni’s dependence on advertising. About 38% of Omni’s overall revenue will come from Omni Mer and its sister app, Omni Economy. Nearly half of all subscribers choose the yearly membership option, and the churn on the app has been less than 5%.