2021 Finalist

Project Ella: Migrating 10,000 Local Print Subscribers and Casual Readers to Digital Subscriptions and Metropolitan Newspaper Subscriptions

News Corp Australia

Surry Hills, Australia

Category Digital Subscriptions

Overview of this campaign

Our newspapers had been in circulation for many decades, published by local families, with long-time support from local businesses and a loyal readership. Although print production would cease, our commitment to local news and our journalists' dedication to bringing their community’s news remained.

An aggressive education and retain campaign was launched to migrate subscribers to our local digital mastheads and our metropolitan newspaper products.

We needed to cement our brands as advocates for their local communities, so developed localised brand marketing plans to positively position our brands in their local communities.  Our brand proposition “Local news is here to stay” underpinned every tactical activity to build the local sentiment, across outdoor, radio, print, social and digital channels.

We had two major objectives with our campaign:

  1. Migrate 10,000 local newspaper customers to digital

We used the last 2 weeks of print circulation in each town as an opportunity to transition print readers to new digital only subscriptions, with two retention initiatives. A two month free trial and a 12 month tablet bundle offer.

We needed to retain 60% of the print and digital bundle cohort on a digital only subscription.

In addition to the offer initiatives, targeted subscriber service communications outlining the closure of the printed product were developed for existing subscribers of the 80+ impacted regional mastheads.

The campaign also included education for the predominantly older readers on how and where to get their local news online. This included a Regional Subscriber & Reader Roadshow to inform and educate our audience across six key markets on our offers and how to navigate our content online.

 2. Migrate 30% of newspaper subscribers to metro print products

To retain our “rusted on” print readers in existing markets, six special regional editions of the metropolitan The Courier-Mail and Daily Telegraph were launched after our local newspapers ceased printing.  These regional editions combined the best local/regional and state based news in a new print format circulated Monday to Friday by region. 

Results for this campaign

The coordinated brand and education campaign was extremely successful in retaining customers. 

Objective 1 - Transition 10,000 print and digital masthead customers to digital only

We launched a Two Month Free Digital Trial offer across the network of 50+ newspapers. And in 14 towns we launched a 12 month Tablet Bundle offer to entice our predominantly mature newspaper readers to migrate to digital news.

Our targeted communications to all affected subscribers consisted of letters and eDM campaigns to announce the transition and migrate to their local digital or metropolitan sites.

Our eDM campaign consisted of 82,846 eDMs with an average open rate of 43.75% and an average click through of 23.37%.

Results were strong. We migrated 15,167 digital subscriptions after 3 months.

  • On day one of transition, 8,603 former print and digital bundle customers were rolled onto a 2-month free offer. 
  •  5,647 digitally active customers migrated to the two month free trial offer post print stop. Of the 5,647 customers migrated, 4,604 (or 81.5%) were retained on digital only subscription after three months.
  • Our Two Month Free Trial Offer had 10,430 free trials activated with 6,128 converted to paid customers, with over 58.7% retention of these customers after three months.
  • Our 12 months tablet value bundle offer with a target of 400 subscriptions across 14 mastheads, received a whopping 3,394 subscription during the 4 week campaign, at a cost per acquisition of $4.16.  

Our new-look digital edition featuring daily local stories as they would have appeared in paper launched across digital platforms, with 54,972 unique users in 6 weeks post-launch.

Nearly 70% of Roadshow attendees are still subscribers, six months post-event.

Objective 2 - Transition 30% of local newspaper subscribers to metro print

After 8 weeks, the Regionalised editions of The Courier-Mail and Daily Telegraph were performing significantly ahead of expectation, converting 46% of June Regional baseline sales to Metro –adding 67,000 average incremental NCA papers weekly.


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