According to media industry trends, during at least the last 20 years, we have faced several important changes in technology and customer habits. These changes made us rethink our business, communication with audiences, platforms, and B2C and B2B experiences. This is extremely important for regional media companies, even though changes arrive a little later in regional and local markets.
At Los Andes, this is perhaps the main reason we decided to accelerate technological changes and the adaptability of our company to the new trends three years ago. We developed a plan that considered five keys to achieve success with these new challenges:
- Smaller, flexible structure and processes.
- Focus on leadership for the digital and newspaper audience.
- New technology for the Web platform to meet audiences behaviours.
- Login/paywall and subscription models.
- Moving the newspaper format to tabloid.
Structure and processes
At the end of 2019, we finished restructuring our process to create an agile, flexible, dynamic, and innovative company. We now have 45% of the staff we had in 2015. It was a hard, tough, and difficult task to go from 280 to 125 people. It required not only downsizing, but also instituting a new onboarding process.
This kind of action put our company in a delicate situation, and it was obliged to rebuild processes and relations between areas. Moreover, we added new platforms and products, which are now included in the everyday schedule.
Digital and newspaper leadership
While we worked on structure and processes, we have worked very hard since 2017 to be the leader for digital audiences in Mendoza, Argentina. We also want to sustain the newspaper business.
Our digital audience is about 10 million unique visitors. Our daily newspaper version has, on average, 14,000 units, and the net Sunday circulation is 30,000 newspapers.
The year of transition
We thought we needed some time to get accustomed to the new structure and processes. However, at the beginning of 2020, because of Argentina’s economic crisis and COVID-19, we had to change plans.
It was necessary to speed up. We were already working on a new Web site, paywall models, and newspaper format, but we never thought we would launch all these changes in only one month.
June: looking toward the future
As I said, 2020 made us rethink the speed of changes. With a huge effort of determination and coordination on behalf of every member in every area of the company, we decided to launch these three changes in June 2020:
- June 9: New Web site, based on Arc technology.
- June 17: Login/paywall and subscription model.
- June 28: New newspaper format.
Los Andes relaunched its Web site with technology from The Washington Post. We incorporated the platform of the prestigious newspaper to boost our content offering to our 10 million unique users.
Arc Publishing is a platform that has won several awards for its infrastructure and performance. It meets the demands of newsrooms where the most advanced digital environments coexist with traditional ones. It helps optimise workflows and meets the demands of its readers.
Our transfer to Arc is a landmark move in Los Andes’ 136+ years of history. Today, Los Andes is positioned among the 10 most-read portals in the country, consolidating its commitment to journalism. The new Web design of Los Andes allows photography, data journalism, and audiovisual content to prevail, with an emphasis on promoting the usual sections as well as new ones.
Based on the scalability of Amazon Web services and the speed of Akamai, Arc works with CatchPoint, SalesForce/Mulesoft, and Splunk to provide a smart interface and robust technology backbone that meets the most challenging content management needs.
Together with Arc Publishing, Los Andes is able to offer an effective user experience. It can even adapt navigation to each of its visitor profiles. In this way, it is possible to improve a highly efficient user segmentation and clustering technology for the scope, visibility, and subsequent consumption of content.
Among the incorporated technology is Wyleex, a platform which several newspapers in America use. This has allowed Los Andes to continue learning more about its audience and generate models of paid subscription.
At launch, the paid subscription offer gave access to premium content. This has long been prepared by the newsroom for differentiation from its current Web site commodity of breaking news.
Throughout its 136 years of life, and on numerous occasions, Los Andes has changed — its logo, its fonts, its architecture, its columns, the name of the sections — but the newspaper format was always the same.
Since June 28, it has taken on the format many of the world’s other newspapers: the tabloid. It is a huge physical, visible change. It’s a change we believed was necessary in these times, an improvement for the marginal contribution of the newspaper edition, and a change that allows us to exchange formats and texts with other newspaper companies with similar tabloid size, fonts, etc.
At Los Andes, we believe newspapers printed Monday to Sunday are fundamental pillars of communication. Currently, we share that function with other platforms and formats. Those who choose us every day get to celebrate our great achievement in this industry. We work daily to make it happens.
Maybe this is the new beginning. We believe we are making our best effort to keep up with technology and trends.
However, we feel like we haven’t reached the goal. Every day, we face new challenges to make Los Andes profitable and sustainable. Our commitment is to be ready for these changes. Or, at the very least, we plan to be prepared to make our best efforts to adapt Los Andes for a life longer than 136 years.