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Wine is a universe of engagement for news media companies

By Jodie Hopperton


Los Angeles, California, United States


Norway is fairly particular when it comes to wine. There are very strict laws and alcohol is only sold through the state. That’s why Dagens Næringsliv (The Norwegian Business Daily) has taken an approach not related to commerce: creating engagement for their users. 

Julie Lungren, chief product and strategy officer, spent time taking me through their journey. Also, here are five learnings I’ve gleaned from looking at how the media and wine mix well.

Wine reviews have been part of the offering to DN’s readers for a long time. Years ago they tried out a wine club for a period, but it mostly consisted of books about wine that came as an addition to the newspaper subscription. They also have a history of events and tastings related to wine. The key to much of their world of wine has been having a very well-known wine expert as the author of the reviews.

Dagens Næringsliv's wine app offers a wine search function.
Dagens Næringsliv's wine app offers a wine search function.

A few years ago, they looked at how they may be able to change their wine reviews and physical events into a digital wine universe. They know wine is popular amongst its readers and saw an opportunity to bring them in deeper, encouraging higher level subscriptions. 

The team looked at how they could maximise the respect of the wine expert and the depth of review content and data already in place. 

Their solution brings their product outside of the usual realms of “news” and opens up an opportunity to interact with their consumers in a different part of their day-to-day routine. They developed a wine search service with advanced filters and even a barcode scanner, which can be used in store to bring up the wine analysts views, including a score out of 100, at the point they are selecting the wines. 

Julie explained: “The state (monopoly) has several releases of wine during the year. It’s beneficial for readers to keep their subscription because there will always be new content. We have around 60,000 wines in the database, and it’s growing every week. So every time they get new wines, our expert will taste them and score them. That’s why you need to have our product continuously.”

What are the results? An impressive 37% of subscribers use the wine universe. To put this in perspective, that’s an even higher engagement than newsletters. 

The app includes about 60,000 wine in its database.
The app includes about 60,000 wine in its database.

In addition to keeping people locked into a subscription by offering this consistent value, they have found a way to generate additional revenue. Although they may not sell wine like many other news titles do, nor are they allowed to have advertisements for alcohol, they are allowed to have sponsors and advertisements for certain related things. Events were already part of their product mix for the wine universe, some of which are highly exclusive, and they have been able to produce lots of wine Webinars for subscribers and generate sponsorship revenue associated with the content.  

This all sounds perfect, so I asked Julie about the product challenges associated with this. She told me it’s a perfect example of a scattered product. It works because it integrates with so many areas of the business. And it is a challenge because it integrates with so many parts of the business. 

There is an editor for the column, one person responsible for the Webinars, another commercial for sponsorships, product and tech for the wine search. It’s complex to manage the totality of the offering and secure resources to continuously improve the wine universe going forward. But DN’s readers love it, that’s for sure!

You can read more about the updated scanner and product here.

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About Jodie Hopperton

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