INMA’s Media Subscriptions Summit offers product lessons, too

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


The annual INMA Media Subscriptions Summit is an intense week of information focused on how we can drive subscriptions, engage, and retain users, and how we organise ourselves to deliver all this. 

Let’s start with the audience takeaways. The image below shows the poll asking the audience in real time what made the biggest impression on them from the week:

INMA Media Subscriptions Summit moderators Idalmy Carrera-Colucci and Robert Whitehead share results of an attendee poll about impressions from the summit.
INMA Media Subscriptions Summit moderators Idalmy Carrera-Colucci and Robert Whitehead share results of an attendee poll about impressions from the summit.


Internal collaboration is highly important. It’s all too easy to get sucked into day-to-day jobs to be done, but we need to work with other teams to deliver in the best way possible. I expand on this more below.  

Audience-first is also something people need consistent reminders about. If you have a subscription product, news avoiders are not your audience.  

The best demonstration of this were some practical thoughts from Riske Betten at Mediahuis Netherlands, who also sits on the INMA Product & Tech advisory Council:

  • Offer a solution > not a product.
  • Listen to your customer > don’t assume you know them.
  • User data gives you the what > user insights give you the why.
  • Add features > remove unwanted features and focus on speed and an excellent experience.
  • Personalise the experience > don’t assume that one size fits all.
  • Focus on retention > not acquisition.
  • Measure customer satisfaction > not everything.

Riske gave a presentation on product-led growth, the third most popular topic (possibly the second if we account for differences in spelling!).  

What is product-led growth? 

The best answer came from one of her colleagues who said that it’s when “the product is so good it goes viral by itself.” That was also the message from the entire advisory council and a note of caution at the end of my workshop on habit forming features and products: The product itself has to be excellent; no feature can make up for a bad product. That means it is easy to use, fast, and meets customers’ needs.  

I’d also like to take this opportunity to give an honourable mention to whoever wrote “work harder” as their one impression! 

A few other notes: 

  • Focus on mobile came up time and time again (which led to me doing some promos for our upcoming virtual deep dive on mobile Web).

  • Audio is something that most people seem to be working on and buoyant about.

  • There is resounding data that annual trials are the way to go — not short trials and absolutely no free trials. 

  • Dynamic paywalls are more and more popular (also evidenced in the word cloud) but need a lot of attention and careful experimentation at the beginning

If you would like to check out other insights from the week, I high recommend the following on LinkedIn:

And if you want trend data, Chartbeat gave a great presentation at the INMA study tour, which you can check out here.

If you’d like to subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter, INMA members can do so here.

About Jodie Hopperton

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