Local News Has A Great Value – Let's Get Ready to Double
Media associated with this campaign
Overview of this campaign
Status for the NTM-conglomerates 18 newspapers in january 2020: 40 000 solely digital subscribers. Historical revenue share on 70% advertising and 30% reader revenue. Facing a fast transformation of the equation: 40% advertising and 60% reader revenue at that moment – and prognosis showing 30/70 in just a few years. And then BOOM - the arrival of Covid 19 accelerated the development.
The sense of urgency became even more imminent. What did we do to handle that during 2020?
- Set up a new department ”Team digital reader revenue” with a clear mission: rapid increase of revenue from digital subscriptions, double the numbers in three years.
- Launched new self developed tech: data platform and new improved websites and apps.
- Implemented a hard lock on all digital news. Testing willingness to pay for news. Sending clear message to our newsrooms: we shall not be afraid to be seen as greedy. ”Local news has a value”.
Getting those pieces together was the easy part. One important challenge remained: for a large conglomerate – how do you get alignment in all the organisations, geographically spread all over Sweden? After summer we started touring Sweden around to our newspapers, involving both editorial and commercial leadership. Under the paroll ”Lets get ready to double!” we involved them in the development of four core parts of strategy.
- Editorial strategy. Clarifying the centrally established reader focused strategy: "clarifying value, strengthening relationship and create habits". Making sure all titles also have one unique and clear local strategy on their journalistic content.
- A crystal clear value propostion, a ”Promise to the subscriber” for each title.
- Improved content analysis in daily work.
- Target groups/segmentation of the ages 30-50 years.
The goal is to more than double the number of digital subscribers and digital reader revenue in the following three years. We aim for 115 000 solely digital subscribers in 2023. The million dollar reader revenue question: will we make it?
Results for this campaign
To answer the question above: If we take a look at how 2020 turned out we are well on our way forward, on track with our goals. Going from 40 000 digital subscribers in january, at midnight on new years eve 2020 we could happily realise that we had reached 57 084. When counting away the additon of digital subscribers from an acquired newspaper we see an increase of over 30 %.
With that number in mind 2020 has been a great year for aquisition of digital subscribers for NTM. Primarily due to these three elements:
1. Great journalistic coverage on Covid 19. We’ve seen a huge spike in new customers and higher level of engagement from new and existing subscribers.
2. Launch of fast and user friendly apps and websites. Almost eliminating the common complaints from customers on product.
3. The strategic move to implement a hard lock for our journalism, encouraging all visitors behaviour to pay, log in and consume our news. Challenging the mindset on free news. Daring to charge for local journalism all the way, despite the ongoing pandemic. Holding on to that even though we’ve been questioned by public and in media coverage.
One thing has been crucial in the work on strategy during the year. If you’re in an early stage of digital reader revenue, be humble, admit that you dont know everything. Gather your high level management around a common goal, work in dedicated cross functional teams, listen and find ”verified good stuff” from the industry and start doing the things that makes difference in the newsroom and for the readers. Don’t be afraid to be inspired by others and copy with pride.
The nice outcome of 2020 and the growth numbers are of course inspiring for the newsrooms, promising for the future and an indication on us going in the right direction towards our goal to double up in three years.