El Pais Colombia set to plunge into digital monetization
Summer marks major transformation for Colombian newspaper El País
This summer marks significant change for Colombian newspaper El País as it prepares to roll out a new digital subscription model.
The paper aims to boost digital revenue (currently 8%) by shifting from an advertising model to a subscriber-based business.
“We are designing aggressive scenarios to get the digital content business representing at least 40 percent of our revenue in the medium term,” says Edgar Cuéllar, chief audience officer at El País Colombia.
The new model will include bundles according to audience segments and offers for print subscribers.
“It’s not a secret that day by day the traditional business is getting more challenging,” explains Cuéllar. “So we have to try to recover some of those revenues, not only by digital advertising services but also by audience and subscription services.”
Cuéllar works closely with the newsroom and is responsible for optimizing audience knowledge and development and also finding new audience monetization opportunities based on data.
Heavy users, who consume over 20 articles monthly and represent 4-5% of total users are more interested in business management topics. This has led to the development of premium business-related content.”
Audience data has played a significant part of planning the shift towards digital subscriptions.
For the last two and half years, the newspaper has been gathering audience data of its 4.2 million monthly online visitors through its DMP (Data management platform) among other strategies.
Now using a “data wall” visitors who access over 20 articles are required to fill in a registration form. “Conversion rates has been better than expected. Dynamic paywall is in the roadmap”, Cuéllar says.
“We are creating over 100 micro segments with specific behaviors and content consumption habits,” explains Cuéllar. “We work together with the newsroom to achieve monthly audience goals and develop content that connects with audiences.”
So far, findings have shown that ‘heavy’ users, who consume over 20 articles monthly and represent 4-5% of total users are more interested in business management topics. This has led to the development of premium business-related content.
We are creating over 100 micro segments with specific behaviors and content consumption habits,” explains Cuéllar. “We work together with the newsroom to achieve a monthly audience goals and develop content that connects with audiences.”
The normal operation of the newsroom is already generating premium content. “We have the special report of Top 500 Companies in our region. This is premium content and we are planning to deliver that product to digital subscribers,” said Cuéllar.
Alongside plans to produce more premium content for future subscribers, Cuéllar is also working on other components to support monetization. These include in-house events, loyalty clubs and an investment into audio-visual content such as video.
“80% of our content is text, only 15% has some audio visual component. This is one of the key components that we are developing,” says Cuéllar.
According to Reuters Institute’s 2017 Digital News Report, video as a format is far more distributed than text, and an increasingly valued part of a content mix.
Though there is no “silver bullet” to creating a challenge-less subscription model as Cuéllar describes, he remains optimistic for the future because of his close relationship with the newsroom.
“I would say one of the pillars of this model is to start with audience knowledge and work jointly with the newsroom because this is the core, the reporters and the editors have to be onboard,” he says, adding. “Beyond the technology and data, this is a matter of culture. Definitely this challenge is very exciting.”