The Newsday Vault
Overview of this campaign
The project was launched in April with the first of these Classic Editions – replica issues, each printed with a deeper page depth, giving readers a paper from the past, including stories, photos and ads.
Our goal hasn’t been advertising sales – in fact, the only ads in the Classic Editions are for ancient appliances – a 1947 TV with “52 square inches of big picture screen” for $495 – classic movies and clothing and groceries at prices readers haven’t seen in years.
It’s really been about our growing emphasis on audience and subscription-based revenue. They get the sections at no extra cost but have to opt in to receive them, an affirmative step that our metrics show reflects the strength of their connection with Newsday. When we asked readers if receiving Classic Editions would make them more likely to subscribe or keep subscribing, 43% said they would be more likely to continue.
The first stop for our time machine was April 22, 1964, when Newsday covered the opening of the World’s Fair. We covered the 1969 moon landing, a massive anti-nuclear demonstration in 1979 and the aftermath of 1985’s Hurricane Gloria. We closed out 2017 with a return to the Forties, the paper’s first decade, as we took readers to the WWII home front and then 1947 and the birth of suburbia.
On Thanksgiving, the Vault brought a different kind of blast from the past – the republishing of the first chapter from our 1997 series, “Long Island: Our Story,” a year-long daily feature that told the story of the island, from the Ice Age to the Space Age. It’s the biggest editorial project the paper has tackled, and 20 years later, we’ve begun introducing it to a new generation, one chapter at a time.
Results for this campaign
In contrast to the traditional strategy where publishers charge an additional fee, we chose to test a no-fee opt-in model to see if it would generate incremental price elasticity and/or retention. We employ churn modeling, which scores each subscriber weekly on their probability of churn including, among many data sources, our customer resource management, digital consumption and subscriber demographics. The goal has been to increase the perceived value of a Newsday subscription and strengthen the likelihood that readers will continue with us.
The results have been dramatic.
The consumer buzz in our market over Newsday Classic Editions has been greater than any of our other product launches in recent memory. Social media and commenting have been filled with readers reminiscing and sharing their memories and photos from the historical events. Emails and letters in appreciation have been in abundance, and local TV news did a segment including interviews with our co-publishers and readers highlighting the interest in our Newsday classic editions.
And, in terms of opt-in numbers, “Long Island: Our Story” has already surpassed the Classic Editions. So far, 39,571 subscribers have signed up for "Long Island: Our Story" and 38.083 opted in for Classic Editions, each exceeding expectations as the Newsday Vault moves into a new year of going back to the future.
Note: I led the Editorial effort, with the help of Laura Mann, but it took a dedicated interdepartmental team to make this a success.