Data the key as dailies look to double subs again

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German publisher Medienhaus Aachen has coordinated editorial and subscription data, doubling the latter in 2020.

Reader revenue market manager Nele Toyesays the company, which publishes daily newspapers Aachener Zeitung and Aachener Nachrichten, has made huge progress with its digital plans. "We have succeeded in doubling our full paying digital subscription stock during 2020 and have the ambition to double it again in 2021".

MWM's cloud-based Media 365 data system has been running since the northern summer. Integrating information from existing systems, including the ERP ViVa subscription system and InterRed CMS, as well as Google Analytics, provides a framework and "overall grip" on the systems and customer data.

"Editorial data and subscription data were earlier two different worlds," he says. "Now all our operations are data driven. The strategy of the whole company is digital as this is the only growing media market.

"It is increasing and has great potential. How to sell digital content and build up a stock of customers is a huge issue."

Print is still good business in Germany, but Medienhaus Aachen realised the importance of the digital market early. The first step of the digital journey was taken already in 2013 by setting up a paywall. After a couple of years the company also experimented with offering a summary of the regional and local multimedia-news of the day through an app for those who had no time for news briefings in the mornings.

During a testing period of a year, they realised they had no coherent strategy about how to sell digital content within the paywall. "This changed in 2017, when we started to take our content seriously by being more strategic and by first publishing content digitally behind the paywall," he says.

Today reports are based on 80-100 data fields, with working routines changing for editorial and marketing teams, and experiments with various subscription offers an ongoing process.

"Today we are looking at the behaviour of the customers and we have different offers on trial. We can now study why customers convert and churn. How did they behave while subscribing and how can we get them back if they churn."

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