INMA Readers First Initiative Lead Greg Piechota has identified bundling as one of the best ways to expand a news media company’s digital subscriber base.
Speaking on day three of the INMA World Congress of News Media, sponsored by Piano, executives from La Nación in Argentina and Globo in Brazil shared details of their new bundling efforts and how they have changed their digital subscription trajectory. The World Congress continues throughout May on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Registation is available here for all or individual sessions.
La Nación created a club to drive subscriber acquisition
La Nación is one of Argentina’s biggest newspapers, with an average of 23 million unique visitors on the Web site every month — notable in a country of about 40 million. They have offered digital subscriptions for only about five years, and at the end of 2021 had a total of 300,000 digital subscribers.
Club La Nación is a loyalty programme, but Augustina Roncaglione, subscription acquisition manager, said, “It’s more than just a benefit programme. It’s a value proposition in and of itself.”
Benefits include things like 20% discounts at restaurants, two-for-one cinema tickets, and discounts at supermarkets. The Club partners with nearly 1,000 brands and more than 3,000 stores throughout the country, with discounts in more than 20 different categories.
Javier Cantero, the manager of Club La Nación, explained that there are three tiers subscribers can choose from: classic, premium, and black. The benefits increase at higher tiers. A digital subscription to La Nación, for instance, is only included at the premium and black levels, while only black level members can take advantage of free “experiences” such as wine tastings.
While the club undoubtedly helps with subscriber retention, Roncaglione said it’s an important value proposition to attract new digital subscribers because it opens up the potential to find new audiences among people who may simply be searching for coupons or discounts independent from the news but who are already familiar with the La Nación brand.
“Club La Nación boosts the scope of our acquisition strategy,” she said. “It allows us to expand our search outside La Nación’s platforms to reach audiences who are not already readers.”
The offer people are shown differs a great deal depending on whether they’re already on the La Nación site or whether they come to the club via a search for discounts. With the former, a digital subscription is shown as the primary benefit, with Club La Nación as the secondary benefit. With the latter group, it’s the opposite, focusing on the club benefits with a digital subscription to the newspaper as an added bonus.
“It’s important to know which channel the audience is on to know how to target the message,” Roncaglione said, “because the key to conversion is knowing which part of the message to highlight.”
Globo created a streaming service to expand its base
Streaming services are in abundance in today’s digital world. Companies have started to partner to create bundle and add-on services, including Brazil’s largest video platform, globoplay, which recently partnered with major names like Disney, Deezer, Apple, and Discovery+.
“Globoplay is not only a normal streaming platform, but also video on demand (VOD), and live TV, all in one streaming platform,” Globo’s Head of Digital Media, Renata Fernandes, told World Congress attendees.
Currently, globoplay offers its base content offer, live channels, and now offers bundles and add-ons with its partnered media companies.
Why did Globo decide to tackle bundles and add-ons?
“Streaming is a very competitive environment, Brazilians don’t have deep pockets, and after the pandemic, we are facing a deep economic crisis here in Brazil.”
The partnerships brings complementary offers together, allowing Globo the opportunity to be a part of what consumers would already be paying for in separate subscriptions: “We can connect the two. Then we talk about subscribers, it’s not just one industry — there is streaming, print and music — but for the consumers it is the same,” Fernandes said.
There are three types of business models for partnered companies at Globo:
- The “combo” model is one subscription but two services with a discount. This is considered a bundle. “The consumers are expecting to have one payment and discount, and this is one subscription,” Fernandes said.
- The “add-on” model is two subscriptions with two services and a discount. Fernandes explained this model came to be because for existing subscribers, they wanted to bundle their services, but the bundles were for new subscriptions.
- The third model is the “standalone” model — one subscription and one service, which is a very basic level subscription allowing users to subscribe to only one offer.
Globo has seen an average revenue per user (ARPU) increase since launching with partners.
“When you see the bundles, even though they are offering a discount, they have a broader ticket. They are able to increase the offer with the product,” Fernandes explained.
Retention of subscribers has also increased. “This is normally a better offer for the consumers, so they think twice about cancelling the subscription,” she said.
“We thought if you are increasing the subscriptions you have, this would increase the consumption,” Fernandes said. “But what we saw is the bundle subscribers are more engaged, based on daily average use compared to a single service subscriber.”