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Monetizing the move from print, to pixels, to products

May 9, 2024
Posted by Aptitude Software

Monetizing the move from print, to pixels, to products

Publishers, more than ever, are embracing digital platforms. Countless spin-off products from traditional news outlets are available for audiences to download, consume and share instantly. The continued success of digital products like The Economist’s Espresso App, The New York Times’ puzzles and The Athletics’ ad-free exclusive journalism, all act as the benchmarks to which their global peers aspire. 

Customers are also changing product offerings quickly. The “TikTok generation” have shortened attention spans and want short, snappy bitesize chunks of information on-demand. Websites that are slow to load, overcrowded with ads  or out of date simply don’t cut it anymore. Customers go where friction is low and content quality is high. Loyalty is linked to experiences, not simply journalistic integrity. 

So, what does this mean from a monetization perspective?

The short answer is experimentation. There is no silver bullet and no one-size fits all. All publishers must offer different content, with different experiences to different audiences. It follows perfectly that different business models will need to be utilized to accommodate the wide range of options available to increasingly diverse audiences. 

Print is not dead, however slow and often painful it’s decline may seem. Ensuring that print revenue is not cannibalized by digital-only revenues is important. Print, digital and ad revenues should be seen as complements to one another, not foes. Bundling print with a variety of digital products is the key to sustaining the revenue of your traditional audience. The New York Times largely attributes 210,000 new subscribers in Q1 of 2024 to bundles. Offering digital experiences that are simply not available via the medium of ink and paper, not only extends the ARPU of audiences, but it also creates an organic bridge to a publisher’s digital offering. 

And what about going the other way?

Supplementing your digital products with physical goods. This could be tech, as demonstrated at Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Germany, or by bundling an offline experience, such as an event as demonstrated by the Financial Times. But be careful, if the supplementary product has a greater value to the customer than the core news offering, you will have an audience at high-risk of churn when the promotional period expires! 

The key to monetization for news outlets is understanding their audiences and the value of their brand. By considering these factors and then devising product bundles and propositions that resonate with both, media companies can foster customer loyalty and drive up the metric they all treasure the most; CLTV (customer lifetime value). Working with co-operatives and aggregators is another way to anchor content with complementary content written by industry peers. 

The Aptitude Subscription Management Platform, eSuite, enables our clients to configure bundles across all digital and physical formats, on a per-customer level. This flexibility ensures our clients have the tools available to transform their subscription business in-line with the speed that technology and audiences are moving. 

If you’d like to see our subscription management solution, eSuite, in action, please book a demo! 

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