Mather Economics’ Listener Intelligent Paywall, a 2018 Global BIGGIES Award winner

Mather Economics Listener Intelligent Paywall won a first place in the best in data-driven technology in the Global BIGGIES Awards competition. Here’s how you can submit your entry  to the BIGGIES Awards for Europe, Middle East and Africa, taking place on 1 November in London.


Define the problem to be solved or technology disruption to be addressed.

To help newspaper and media companies transform into the digital age, we developed the Listener™ data platform. Listener is the foundation that collects data from online audience, ad servers, payment platforms, other online interactions (like commenting engines, login systems…etc.) and offline data sources (such as demographics, subscriber payment history, newsletter usage…etc.). What makes our data collection unique is the granularity of data collection and ability to connect all the user interactions from dozens of platforms used by media companies. This removes data silos and eliminates the need to install multiple tracking tools that slow down site performance. We have submitted a patent in 2017 on the technology, design, and methodology of the data platform.

A robust data foundation is the first requirement to help publishers transition to advanced audience and content analytics in the digital age. We had attempted to utilise other tracking tools and widely-used dashboards but found limitations which did not provide a sufficient 360 customer view to address essential analytical questions, and more importantly, the ability to execute recommendations based on the analytics in real time. Thus, the Listener infrastructure not only collects data to build holistic datasets for analysis but also enables users to apply recommendations with direct integration into fulfillment tools such as email service providers, paywalls, data management platforms, and ad servers.

We built the Intelligent Paywall™ algorithm on top of the Listener data platform to solve one of the most critical questions for media companies. As many newspapers struggle to offset losses from their print subscribers and advertising and find challenges with declining CPMs in digital advertising, the need for a sustainable paid digital subscription business is apparent. However, publishers must balance the paywall configuration to limit potential advertising risk while still converting enough anonymous users to paid subscribers. Without a clear understanding of the tradeoff on a per-user-basis, publishers are “leaving money on the table” when applying a one-size-fits-all paywall. The Intelligent Paywall triggers the optimal user experience where net revenue is maximized. Media companies have multiple levers that can be adjusted to maximize net revenue. Levers available to publishers are:

– The timing of the call to action (commonly referred to as meter setting);

– The content used to encourage a call to action (what articles should be “behind” the paywall or accessible for free);

– The price and discount being offered to incentivise the user to take action;

– The product offered (digital-only, print+digital, or simply a free registration or newsletter signup in exchange for more content access);

– The messaging and the creative proposed to the user (for example, focusing the value proposition on quality journalism, exclusive sports coverage, or community engagement based upon user preferences and behaviour).

Knowing which user should be offered the right combination of these levers is the future of sustainable data-driven audience development and acquisition strategy. The Intelligent Paywall assigns each user the right combination of these levers to save advertising revenue and grow incremental subscription revenue in real time.

In summary, the Listener data platform solves the data capture and implementation problem while the Intelligent Paywall solves the analytical and business problem.

Read the full Q&A here.

The BIGGIES reward media companies’ innovation in Big Data and Artificial Intelligence efforts. It is organised and hosted by World Newsmedia Network in association with FIPP. 

Deadline to submit entries is September 7 2018: Submit your entry


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