Growing Reader Revenue Series – Retention
14 August 2019
In the final part of the Reader Revenue series, we are going to analyse which Retention Tools and products are being introduced to help reduce churn and enhance value for their readers. This was originally discussed in our Growing Reader Revenues Beyond Content webinar which can be found here. This final post in the series discusses strategies such as premium add-ons for readers, creating additional brands by re-purposing vertical content, utilising archive publications and monitoring churn indicators.
Publishers are starting to look for indicators that correlate with digital subscriber churn with an attempt to combat non-voluntary churners. Both the Boston Globe & The Seattle Times identified credit card failures as the key cause of churn – 62% of all digital subscription churn for the Seattle Times! The Globe has taken immediate action to reduce card churn and have successfully minimised this percentage from 50% to 20%. The Washington Post was arguably the first to address this involuntary churner. Once they identified the issue, they started sending email reminders and pop-ups warning subscribers to update their card info, this had a huge impact and prevented an additional 19% of users from churning. 
Adding Products/Add-ons to Add Value
Digital readers expect more than traditional print readers, especially now there are varying tiers of premium subscribers. Therefore, publishers are adding a number of add-ons and additional products into their digital offering. For example, an extensive archive, podcasts, weather updates and everything in-between. Large US publisher, Newsday successfully achieved this by selecting historically significant past editions and transforming them into a packaged up digital edition called ‘Classic Editions’ for the reader to consume. 
Publishers are also identifying that their premium print subscribers are demanding more value from their paid-for subscription. Therefore, they are starting to offer the digital Replica as a bolt-on to their print subscription, which not only also helps with familiarising readers with the digital product but also allows them to track their reader behaviour. In a similar way, those publishers with live feed-driven apps are taking advantage of a locked-down Replica SDK solution to provide additional value for those premium subscribers letting them choose a digital product that suits their needs.
Here at PageSuite, we are witnessing many publishers exploring ways to maximise their existing content; publishers are experimenting with spin-off brands and one-off editions. For example, large US newspaper publisher Newsday successfully launched a food spin-off brand called Feed Me. This is an umbrella title for a family of products Newsday has begun producing, including a series on the area’s top 100 restaurants. On launch day in July 2018, page views shot up from less than 720 to more than 12,000 in that one day.  A great way of utilising existing content and tapping into a vertical that your readers are interested in.
Re-purposing existing web content has also proved a successful strategy for some publishers. For example, reintroducing evening editions created from web content that has been published throughout the day. Others are reusing their individual vertical content such as sports sections, then repackaging this web content and serving as a finishable edition – This can be achieved via our latest Edition app solution.
Other Retention Tactics
- Conference calls with journalists
- Invitation-only events at publishers’ offices
- Readers suggesting editorial themes
- Creating bespoke subscription packages giving readers what they want
- Turning Subscribers into members
It is worth remembering that advertisers also need to be analysed for churn. Retaining advertisers can be extremely important when looking to succeed with an online presence. It is important to highlight the value over media giants such as Facebook & Google, emphasising trust, local relationships and the importance of traditional loyal media.
Watch out for our Reader Revenues Whitepaper which is being released soon!