Speaking to INMA at the 2017 INMA World Congress in New York City, Tobias Henning, global manager/premium at BILD, explained the start of BILDplus and how the initiative helped grow the 65-year-old news media company. 

“In the digital world, we look for more monetisation,” Henning said. “So we make money, of course, from advertising sales. But we often think that to have a sustainable business ... that we need another revenue stream. And that’s why we started selling subscriptions to have these reader revenues from subscriptions.”

The next step was to grow.

“We are thinking about not just doing more marketing, making more plus articles ... were always thinking about maybe its a good idea to increase the price to make more revenue off this. Its a constant devleopment of a new or a second revenue stream in digital business.

BILDs 20-year-old Web site started out free — for audiences and advertisers. That changed rather quickly, Henning explained. The news media company introduced the concept of paid content to its audiences in 2009, the year the iPhone debuted.

“Thats the first time we realised OK, you can make money by selling content and not just by selling advertising space. And then we introduced the broader BILDplus offer in 2013 to make a holistic approach to all of our digital inventory.

BILD now has more than 350,000 paying subscribers, which represents 1.7% of its 20 million unique users.

“So there is still a long way to go to. We also rely ... on advertising sales and therefore were also interested to grow our reach and have free users come to our Web site.