Why editions are still thriving in the digital age

At Twipe we have long been believers in the power of editions, and we believe edition-based publishing should be core to the strategy of every newspaper publisher.

Recently we’ve noticed a sea change, with many new publishers pivoting to edition strategies–whether that be by creating entirely new digital editions or by investing more in their existing digital editions. This week we were asked to share our view on this change and how publishers can succeed with their digital edition strategies at Danske Medier’s Innovation Forum in Copenhagen. We’re sharing some of the highlights, as well as giving a glimpse into upcoming research on this topic.

Editions meet the needs of the biggest group of news consumers

Editions fulfil fundamental needs of large groups of audiences, such as the 44% of news consumers identified by Reuters as ‘daily briefers’. These readers like to be briefed once a day, and appreciate the structure, completeness and depth of editions.

Our newest research project looks at the readers of digital news (you can find out more about this project at the bottom of this article), and one of the key insights we see is that this chart holds true today globally, as well as within countries and across age groups. We’re excited to share more of our findings next month at the Digital Growth Summit in Rennes, make sure to subscribe to receive the report as soon as it is released.

Great global growth expected for editions

We also see that digital editions are growing, with Statista projecting that ePaper global revenues will show an annual growth rate of 7.8%, to result in a market volume of $5,357 million by 2022. Digital editions in Europe specifically are expected to grow even more, with an annual growth rate of 8.5%.

We see this anecdotally as well, through our conversations with publishers across Europe and the United States. We hear of many renewed focuses on digital editions, and growing investments into edition strategies. Earlier this year we interviewed leaders of American newspapers and we learned that while digital editions had not previously been a main priority, this is starting to change for many.

Benchmark against leading publishers

We know that direct reader revenue is the number one priority for many newspapers now, and last year Media Briefing released a report on how 15 European publishers were planning to do this. They studied leading publishers, including BILD, The Economist, De Correspondent, Süddeutsche Zeitung, The Times, and Le Monde. One thing that stood out was the importance placed on developing new editions.

6 common factors

We see that for publishers who have adopted this strategy, they’ve been able to truly grow. When The Times and The Sunday Times moved to an edition-focused strategy in 2016, they saw users of the paid-for mobile app up 30% and the average number of pageviews up 300% in the first year. Ouest-France has also succeed with their digital-only edition L’édition du Soir–recently hitting 20 million page views in the month of August. We will be releasing a case study soon of how Ouest-France has succeed with their digital-only evening edition in honour of its fifth anniversary, let us know if there is anything particular you are interested in learning!)

Get inspiration for your edition strategy

In our newest research we are examining the readers of digital news themselves: how they prefer to read and what motivates them to pay (or not to pay) for digital news. Our findings will be published in a report at the end of November, Reinventing Digital Editions: The Readers’ Perspective, sign up here to receive your copy of the report. This report builds on our previous research into innovative news formats, you can read our conclusions in our report released earlier this year: Reinventing Digital Editions: Best Practices from Leading European Publishers.

We will be discussing how to succeed with an edition-based publishing strategy, along with highlighting how artificial intelligence is being leveraged in news media at the Digital Growth Summit in Rennes next month. We still have a few spots available for interested news media leaders, please register or contact us for more information.

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


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