Digital strategy for 2019: case studies from 5 leading newspapers

As you finalise your 2019 strategy, we have best practices from leading publishers from Europe, the US, and Africa summarised in five case studies. See how The New York Times, De Telegraaf, Ouest-France, The Guardian, and Tiso Blackstar Group are planning for 2019.

#1. Focus on engagement, not just conversion (The New York Times)

“To ensure new readers stay engaged with the content, The New York Times has placed an emphasis on setting new subscribers up for success. They have created a team of 10 people to focus solely on the first 90 days of a new reader’s subscription. Part of this effort has seen the creation of ‘new reader guides’ to show new subscribers how to get the most our of their product.” Read More

#2. Build loyalty with long-term subscription offers (De Telegraaf)

“When analysing the churn rates of the subscriptions, it was very clear that short term subscriptions and trial subscriptions did not result in long term sustained relationships, while it cost a lot to the organization. On the other hand, the churn rate on long term subscriptions is significantly lower. In a bold move, De Telegraaf stopped offering their short term subscriptions. Against more conventional wisdom and industry practices, they started offering long term subscriptions. This move has been particularly successful, resulting in a year-on-year subscriptions growth of 66%.” Read More

#3. Leverage new moments of consumption (Ouest-France)

“Ouest-France started to sense a new trend in their audience’s reading habits, with more reading happening in the evening. They knew they wanted to leverage this new moment of consumption, so they created a whole new edition to meet their readers’ changing needs. L’édition du Soir, published each weeknight at 6 PM, is optimised for the interests of readers during this time period, with more games and puzzles to help readers relax.” Read More

#4. Make data-driven decisions (The Guardian)

“The team has tested different messaging to drive sign-ups, learning that while messaging focusing on their history works to encourage one-off donations, it did not encourage sign-ups. Instead switching to messaging highlighting the cost of creating quality journalism has better grown their membership program.The location of the message was also tested, including ad placements, at the bottom of articles, and pop-ups shown to visitors with ad blockers switched on, the latter of which was was particularly effective.” Read More

#5. Return to edition-based publishing (Tiso Blackstar Group)

“We did a lot of research and discovered the emergence of the digital edition as a trend. We had been watching La Matinale and Espresso for some time – loved the idea of a subscriber product that curated a single dose of news a day, and clearly their success indicated a market for distilled news. The model we emulated though was Spiegel Daily: loved the design, the anchor tags and the format, so that’s where we settled.” Read More

This article was written by Mary-Katharine Phillips, Media Innovation Analyst at Twipe from 2017 – 2021.


Team Twipe

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