How to crack the code for sustainable journalism with dynamic paygates - Reuters News Agency

How to crack the code for
sustainable journalism with dynamic paygates


By Giles Crosse | May 31, 2019

In the second part of our paygates exploration, Paul Johnson, MPP CEO and co-founder, reveals how dynamic paygates, as part of smarter revenue management, could shake-up journalism for good.

If you missed part one, we recommend a read before delving into this analysis.

What is dynamic paygate technology?

Our dynamic paywall functionalities, be that for metering, paywall, datawall, signwall or sharewall implementations, all utilize our eSuite Intelligence & Decisioning module.

Based on digital fingerprint technology, the decisioning processes control access to:

  • website and application content
  • personalize the consumer experience
  • And optimize the conversion funnel.

Common uses allow consumers to enjoy free access to content for a specified amount of content or period – or to specific content areas – before requesting the consumer register or subscribe.

What does behavioural intelligence mean within a paygates context, and why is it key?

Behavioral intelligence technology is primarily used to understand the behaviors and demographics of the anonymous visitors to a publisher’s site. They can then build a profile around the content these visitors consume, the device they use, location and many other key marketing metrics.

This information can be collected, analyzed and used to optimize the experience for the consumer, surfacing more relevant content for them or creating compelling incentives to motivate anonymous visitors to register and, ultimately, become paying customers.

What about the interplay between dynamic gating and diverse, engaging content?

The most successful models we see are where high quality, often unique content, is delivered in a smart way to consumers.

The successful trend in subscriptions is where companies are looking at the subscriber rather than the subscription. Look at the New York Times; in just two years they doubled the number of subscribers to their crossword app.

Or McClatchy, with a stable of 30 newspapers, serving different local communities across the US. Or L’Équipe in France, who responded to changing consumer habits by re-imagining their business model to give customers the ability to buy all-encompassing monthly subscriptions or premium bite-size content for casual users.

Give consumers the content they want, at a time they want it, with all the flexibility they desire. This could mean dynamic bundles, any payment type, method or currency or subscription holidays.

To drive reader revenues successfully, publishers require functionality to execute complementary print and digital subscription strategies. Such functionality also ensures publishers are well placed for any future shift towards a greater adoption of digital-only subscriptions, article and time-based business models.”

Are dynamic paygates just for digital?

MPP Global recently launched new functionality which enables media organizations to seamlessly create and manage the sale of physical subscriptions.

The development of this industry-first functionality was borne out of the increasing number of publishers experiencing challenges when managing multiple systems for deploying bundled print and digital subscriptions. This approach is inflexible for the publisher and ultimately limits choice for their customers, restricting the ability to seamlessly create and offer digital and print subscription bundles.

Digital-only subscription management systems used by many publishers are unable to successfully cater for print subscriptions, and vice versa. Fulfilling digital and print subscriptions forces many publishers to adopt separate platforms or operate a complex tech stack, taking extra operational resource and incurring additional costs.

REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Will digital and dynamic gates become the industry standard?

Digital content will become the primary distribution method for publishers. However, for most that transition process is taking longer than expected.

The publishing industry has gone through its share of challenges over the last few years. The global success stories tend to highlight innovative, creative companies that have benefited from implementing a monetization solution that suited them.

It is still down to being able to respond quickly. The ability to test, deploy and revise business models quickly and flexibly is what any smart revenue system should be able to offer, whilst providing a scalable approach towards authorization.

Can you describe some additional advantages of a smart revenue system for publishers?

Paywalls are not the only component of a smart revenue system. Acquisition is very important, however retention is equally important.

Customer retention gives organizations access to a range of advanced technologies to minimize churn, by updating amended credit card details in advance of the subscription renewal and enabling win-back campaigns for customers who have cancelled their subscriptions, either voluntarily or due to a failed payment.

This leverages data science and machine learning to create advanced churn algorithms, which enable media companies to accurately predict which customers are at risk of churning and take steps to re-engage.

What kind of financial wins are we potentially talking?

Companies can set the time they process subscription renewals in order to maximize successful first-time payments. Studies have shown that eSuite has successfully reduced involuntary churn by over 85 per cent, with an existing client achieving an additional six per cent retention with a value in excess of £6m per annum.

Any other noteworthy trends in this area?

The majority of our clients have utilized the paywall functionality, but aren’t providing quantitative results. Not because the approach isn’t working; The Times have had it in place since around 2010, but because they feel it gives them such a competitive advantage they don’t want to show their hand.