Reaching it all – Insights leading to Subscriber Growth & Revenue Increase
2020 Finalist

Reaching it all – Insights leading to Subscriber Growth & Revenue Increase

Sanoma Media Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Category Best Use of Data Analytics or Research

Media associated with this campaign

Overview of this campaign

Helsingin Sanomat's strategic target is to reach 300 thousand digitally active subscribers by 2023 (with an average annual ARPU of at least 180€) in order to "win the digital transformation" ie. to be from that onward independent of print revenue, still being able to sustain at least the current level of content costs of quality journalism in a small language area. (Finnish being spoken by around 5,5 million people.)
To reach this target Helsinging Sanomat needs to enable digital growth efforts with solid financial performance driven by maximal revenue. In order to meet both of these somewhat contradicting  targets HS has to be able to make accurate pricing and productizations decisions across the whole product portfolio.
Hypotheses driven research:
We were able to leverage price tests, analytics and consumer research to drive decision making.
A journey, not a research project:
As pricing and productization are permanent funcitions, the research and analytics are also processes. Through process lense we were able to work effectively as unified teams while sharing data and making joint decisions.
We have codified the way of working into structures and even supplier contracts, which helps us learn as an extended organization. The trust between management and front-end teams has increased as results of the process have become visible.

Results for this campaign

We created a winning process and way-of-working:

1. Consumer Research:

  • Collecting trend data on consumer preferences
  • Ability to test more at once than in live tests
  • Ability to test ideas that do not exist
  • Developing hypotheses for live testing

2. Testing and analytics:

  • Understanding the real, not only stated consumer preference, which yields maximal accuracy for decision making
  • Testing capacity is scarce so it's to be managed carefully

3. Joint execution planning:

  • Planning how to communicate towards customers
  • Planning winback actions
  • Planning how to monitor the actual impact of the decision

4. Decision making:

  • Roles and responsibilities are clear
  • Decisions are justified using robust research
  • Execution plans solidify trust that risks are thought through and mitigated

The results exceeded our expectations: in 2019 HS beat its all-time-high consumer revenue (110M€) and at the same time digital subscriptions grew by 10%. (And even the total subscriber base, including legacy print-onlys, grew by +2%.)

Key performance drivers:

  • HS 7-days print+digital product's ARPU grew 6% vs. 2018 while number of subscriptions declined by only -1%.
  • The price of the HS pure digital was not lowered in July 2019 due to VAT decrease. ARPU grew by 6%, while revenue grew by 29% and average number of subscriptions by 20%.
  • The number of HS wknd print+digital subscriptions grew by 8% while ARPU grew by 4% leading to 12% revenue growth.


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