In a highly competitive and changing media landscape, two key elements that improve customer satisfaction and prevent churn are relevance and perceived value.
In June 2017, four Swedish local media groups decided to cooperate to broaden their product offerings. The main objectives were increased product value to customers and, thereby, lower churn rates. This collaboration also gave us an opportunity to learn from the best practices in the business.
Sveriges Lokalnyheter was created as a result of this partnership. From Skellefteå in the north to Markaryd in the south, our existing paying customers can access content from the participating companies, including approximately 40 local news sites and apps, for the same price as before.
Prior to the collaboration, customers had to sign up for several separate subscriptions in order to access material behind paywalls. We wanted to simplify their experience. Research from MittMedia/Hall Media shows that many customers want more local content than just their own local newspaper. Customers visit several local news sites every week.
These findings led us to hypothesise that there were more people out there with the same needs, and we now offer news and content from five companies with 40 local news sites and apps around Sweden at no extra charge.
The Sveriges Lokalnyheter subscription includes all news sites and apps in MittMedia AB, Hall Media AB, Sörmlands Media AB, Norra Västerbotten Tidnings AB, and VK Media AB for a fee of US$10.81 per month.
Customers of one group can access material on the others by simply creating a Sveriges Lokalnyheter login associated with the same e-mail address as their original subscription. When you create a log-in to a news site that belongs to MittMedia, for example, you have access to all the news sites belonging to that group.
Since launch in December 2017, Norra Västerbotten Tidning joined the network. We have become larger together and can offer our customers new collaborative forms of journalism and broader editorial campaigns.
We have already seen editorial collaborations on subjects as games and sports. Sveriges Lokalnyheter has, for example, collaborated on broadcasting rights for elite soccer and car races.
The partnership is having a positive effect on local journalism and civic engagement. An example is MittMedia’s digital election series, #kandulova, where citizens can ask questions directly to their local politicians. This solution is now open for all five collaborating companies to use, before and during the 2018 elections.
In addition to the expanded customer offer, we will now continue to:
- Develop #kandulova and similar editorial initiatives.
- Share business best practices with each other to strengthen the entire industry.
- Share technical experiences and collaborate on technical solutions.
- Collaborate in measuring and reporting to find the best business models or to jointly drive certain development issues and find the best user experience for our customers.
- Clearly strengthen the offer further by bringing more media companies into cooperation in 2018.
Sveriges Lokalnyheter has changed the map for everyone who loves local news, and we have created a partnership that helps us develop a sustainable business model in a digital environment.
Existing customers want to stay longer. When we asked our customers, 80% answered that Sveriges Lokalnyheter is adding value to their subscription. Just a few months after launch, more than 30,000 customers already showed that they want to use the service.
The added value of cooperation leads to more satisfied customers. More satisfied customers give us better opportunities to preserve and develop local journalism, and in the long run it helps to strengthen journalism and eventually democracy.