More than 90 experts representing leading international media companies from 14 countries met in Berlin from February 6 to 7, 2019, at the invitation of Axel Springer for the sixth International Paid Content Summit.
Participants shared their experiences in the implementation and further development of digital subscription models. Next to discussions around user acquisition and subscriber retention, the main focus was on the application of data in the newsroom and editorial strategies and workflows.
In addition to Bild, Welt, Business Insider as well as Ringier Axel Springer Media and Ringier Axel Springer Polska, media brands such as Aftonbladet, Der Spiegel, Financial Times, Le Monde, Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Asahi Shimbun, The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal took part. Publications from South Africa and Israel were also represented at the conference for the first time with Media24 and Ynet. Together, the 34 participating media brands accounted for around 10 million of the estimated 20 million digital paid content subscribers in the media sector worldwide.
Stefan Betzold, managing director of Axel Springer News Media National Digital and host of the event, says: “International media managers are becoming increasingly successful in attracting users to paid content. Now it’s a matter of retaining them. Increasing user engagement will play a central role in 2019.”
Beth Diaz, vice president audience development and analytics at The Washington Post, underlines that user engagement is a relevant topic: “It will be important to continue the growth of subscriber acquisition and retain the base of subscribers we already have. User retention is a huge focus for us.”
Anne Pican, publisher of digital at Le Figaro, added another success factor for paid content: “In France we have a lot of free news outlets, so we have to prove that we can make better journalism, offer better analyses and opinion pieces.”
This year, the Financial Times received the International Paid Content Award. The B2B publication from the UK was one of the first media companies in Europe to introduce and very successfully develop a digital subscription model. With over 900,000 subscribers, the Financial Times runs the most successful subscription business in Europe today. With the award, the jury recognised the media brand’s successful strategy of combining unique content with user-centric product development, advanced data analysis, and comprehensive testing methods.
Renée Kaplan, head of audience engagement at Financial Times, on the relevance of paid content offerings: “Paid content is very important for us and will become even more so in the future. The revenues from our paid models make up the largest share of our revenues, and this share is growing every year.”
Click here to read more about what happened at the Summit, including graphs.
Axel Springer is a member of FIPP.
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