Winnipeg Free Press uses eSuite to monetise content, add digital subscribers

By Laura Ryder

MPP Global

Warrington, United Kingdom


With more publishers monetising digital content to accommodate the changing market, Winnipeg Free Press developed an innovative model for consumers to access premium content.

The newspaper’s all-access subscribers only made up 30% of its audience, so the Free Press targeted the remaining 70% with an “iTunes for news” offer. This led to the development of a customer-centric model that offers a new revenue stream and features metered, post-pay micropayments using MPP Global and its eSuite platform.

The payment card industry-compliant platform features a range of industry-proven modules to attract and retain new customers with a unique and flexible model to access digital content.

MPP Global's eSuite cloud platform helped Winnipeg Free Press develop a new revenue stream.
MPP Global's eSuite cloud platform helped Winnipeg Free Press develop a new revenue stream.

Leveraging eSuite, the Free Press has access to flexible and tailored pricing and packaging. The platform also offers the ability to seamlessly roll out promotions, activate new customer acquisition, and measure the health of customer relationships.

In addition, the newspaper can streamline customer registration, offer one-click payments, and better manage the rapid changes in technologies and applications from a single platform, driving down operational costs and the need to rely on technical expertise.

Following extensive research and analysis, the Free Press found the best way to create a balance between benefit and cost, was to offer its readers an easy-to-use service, with reduced commitment and flexible payment options.

A new “read now, pay later” service option with micropayments, which users can choose instead of an all-access subscription, removes barriers to entry often associated with taking out a subscription, by reducing the commitment level. 

Consumers decide the amount they want to pay each month, and the Free Press reaches a larger audience. By targeting the 70% of its audience not paying for content, the newspaper is increasing its digital revenue.

Readers can now choose between an all-access subscription or a "read now, pay later" option with micropayments.
Readers can now choose between an all-access subscription or a "read now, pay later" option with micropayments.

The Free Press not only wished to grow its digital audience but also to understand its audience and adapt better. With access to eSuite’s metering technology, the Free Press implemented a data wall, which appears after subscribers consume a specified number of free articles; this allows the newspaper to collect crucial demographic information.

Using this information, the Free Press can better target and market products to its audience, which will result in a growth in acquisition and average revenue per user.

Winnipeg Free Press already holds the majority of the Winnipeg print audience and is set to achieve market dominance in the digital space as well. Since its 2015 launch, this model has allowed Free Prees to accomplish the following:

  • Prepare for more than 300,000 access requests a day, with the ability to support its target audience of 1 million.

  • Receive more than 200,000 registered users, with 4,500+ readers signed up to the pay-per-article service in less than a year.

  • Convert more than 40% of its print subscribers to its digital services.

The newspaper continues to see new activations, digital subscriptions, and  “read now, pay later” customers each day. More than 32,000 readers now pay in some form to access the Free Press digital news, and the service has helped to increase the print retention rate, reducing print subscriber losses by approximately 50% year on year.

With a large percentage of the population already signed up in some fashion to its digital service, the Free Press is prepared for digital revenue to continue growing across both the subscription and micropayments service. 

Amaury, one of the largest publishing houses in France, is also leveraging eSuite’s micropayments technology for L’Équipe, its sports newspaper, which has a daily audience of more than 2 million. L’Équipe customers, similar to Winnipeg Free Press readers, have the choice between an all-encompassing monthly subscription, or purchasing individual articles from the Web site.

While using the same technology as the Free Press, Amaury has adopted a prepaid e-wallet rather than post-pay, enabling customers to pay for small pieces of low-value content using service credits purchased with a credit card.

About Laura Ryder

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