The shift in consumer demands has led to newspapers adopting new and innovative digital strategies, with metered paywalls emerging as one of the most preferred business models for publishers.
This transformation is being further driven by print and advertising revenues remaining at a fixed point, leading newspapers to focus on offering exclusive online content to generate new revenues.
With an average daily print circulation of approximately 40,000, the Irish News has seized the opportunity to attract a larger audience with its first venture into paid online content and the launch of a new website.
The Irish News is the first newspaper in Northern Ireland to implement a paywall and its metered model enables non-subscribers to access a number of free articles per month, with subscribers receiving access to print, digital and mobile content. This approach provides the Irish News with deeper insight into its audience; both anonymous and registered.
As one of the UK and Ireland’s oldest and most successful regional newspapers, the Irish News is committed to its current & future readers and saw digital as the next step to further this commitment.
The decision to venture into digital originated, in a similar way to other newspaper publishers around the world, with the need to adapt and respond to a rapid period of technological change. The objective for the Irish News was both to transform the business into one which put eCommerce at the centre of its business thinking, moving beyond its old infrastructure which lacked flexibility and to build an end-to-end process by bringing a digital content management system, fully integrated with the daily work of the newsroom, that strengthens the new digital strategy.
One of the main focuses for the newspaper is its dedication to content. While its previous website served its purpose, the Irish News understood that to offer its readers more when accessing online content, it needed to provide a new and improved website. This led the newspaper to D-Share, an experienced digital company focused on technologies for publishing and media, to build and integrate from scratch their digital CMS “Kolumbus”. Kolombus powers a responsive website that enables a full digital publishing workflow from editorial through to a fully responsive website. Kolombus enables the Irish News to complete its portfolio with the newspaper digital edition available on mobile and desktop.
Faced with the reality that digital advertising revenues fall short of compensating for the drop in revenues caused by declining newspaper sales, the Irish News made the decision to launch a metered paywall, creating a dedicated offer to those readers who browse both the website and the newspaper daily digital edition, using MPP Global’s eSuite, the only fully integrated Identity Management, CRM and eCommerce platform, together with D-Share’s Kolombus CMS and digital edition platform.
The successful introduction of the new website and metered paywall enables the newspaper to reach a larger audience beyond the UK and Ireland market, with digital now present overseas in territories like Australia and North America. This means the Irish News can grow its digital revenues by utilising the audience outside of its current print subscribers.
With digital playing a key role in the future of newspapers, as print and advertising revenues remain at a fixed point, the Irish News understand the necessity of an improved digital strategy.
The Irish News has chosen D-Share’s technology to deliver a fully responsive website towards smartphone, tablet, desktop and laptop, enriching also its offer with the newspaper replica digital edition. This digital full-cycle has also allowed the Irish News to increase the engagement of the consumer through a coherent and comprehensive digital strategy.
Working in partnership with D-Share, MPP Global enables the Irish News to integrate eSuite with its new website’s “Kolumbus” CMS platform. This means the newspaper has interlocked functionality between its website, where the consumer accesses digital content, with eSuite, which enables and tracks that access and the consumer. The partnership between D-Share and MPP Global provides the Irish News with a seamless and centralised dashboard to monitor its consumers, while being secure in the knowledge that its ambitious digital strategy is supported by both partners. Also, the Irish News is now able to select one by one those articles which will be included in the metered offer and will be published on the website. This action gives the publisher full control on the content distribution.
Utilising eSuite, the Irish News can define metering and access controls on the amount of ‘free’ content a reader can consume before being requested to register and create a profile. The data collected enables the newspaper to create deep customer profiles, to track and target registered consumers with promotions, offers and incentives, encouraging them back to the website and maximising the opportunity to convert registered consumers into loyal subscribers.
With the updated look and accessibility of the new website, the Irish News’ traffic has increased with consumers accessing the website from mobile, tablet, desktop and laptop. This growth in traffic means an increase in both registered and paying consumers, as the audience and the newspaper is able to gather more information about its audience. With eSuite, the Irish News views all customer information via a single centralised view in eSuite HQ. Data collected when the consumer is anonymous, during registration and information about their purchasing behaviour is all accessible to the Irish News team, enabling the publisher to optimise user experiences, grow dwell times, increase advertising revenues and maximise the conversion funnel from anonymous to registered to subscriber. eSuite HQ also enables the Irish News to provide readers with self-care functionality so they can manage their own account and purchases.
In order to provide its registered consumers and subscribers with a seamless customer experience each time they return to the site, the Irish News uses eSuite to offer one-click payments, recurring subscription payments and eWallet capability. The newspaper can define and bundle its digital offerings across multiple devices, while centralising all of its revenues through a single platform and launch flexible pricing models across a myriad of products and services.
With the metering functionality providing deeper insight into its customers, the Irish News can utilise eSuite to create campaigns for its entire customer base or a targeted demographic. Marketing initiatives can include discounts, offers and other incentives the newspaper knows will entice readers to register and pay for digital products and services. The Irish News can also attract consumers to register for its services by offering free trials which maximise data collection and conversion percentages. This functionality is key to the Irish News as the newspaper aims to encourage consumers to its new website, while aligning its marketing campaigns and promotions to match its new digital strategy.
With access to more detailed information, the Irish News has deeper audience insight. This enables the newspaper to make better informed decisions faster, across multiple data sources and different business areas, ensuring the Irish News continues to offer the best and most innovative service to its readers.
“This project with MPP Global and D-Share firmly sets us forward with our digital strategy. We are proud to be offering our consumers greater access to our site, regardless of their device, with a seamless service to access content.”John Brolly Marketing Manager, The Irish News
With the objective of reaching readers outside of its 40,000 daily print circulation, the Irish News can use eSuite to promote access to its digital offerings across multiple devices, including tablet, mobile, laptop and desktop. This means the newspaper can now reach a larger market outside of Ireland, as well as re-engaging those readers who were previously put off by the website’s unresponsive design.
Single Customer View
With a centralised dashboard to monitor its consumers, the Irish News can view all online audience information in one location. This data provides the newspaper with a deep insight into consumption habits, preferred devices and the most popular genres and types of content on the website, which can then be used to create personalised offers, products and subscriptions to better target its audience.
Align Campaigns with Digital Strategy
A key goal in the launch of the Irish News’ website and paywall is to align all campaigns with the digital strategy. The newspaper is focused on growing audiences and increasing digital content consumption. Aligning these two aspects, the Irish News can now create and tailor campaigns to attract consumers and reward loyal customers with a range of personalised offers, discounts and incentives.
End-to-End Digital Content Distribution
The main objective for the Irish News was to integrate its paper and digital content production processes; making both the newsroom workflow and the content distribution more efficient and simplified. With D-Share meeting these objectives, the Irish News is now able to easily and quickly create valuable content on the website and spread its digital content production towards all the channels.
With the implementation of eSuite and the new website, the Irish News has used the flexible digital and payment system to implement its eCommerce strategy for irishnews.com. The launch of its fast, secure and powerful metered paywall was just what the newspaper needed to support its belief that content accessed on a high volume needs to be paid for.
In the first month following the implementation of the metered paywall, the Irish News was prepared for a huge increase in subscriber figures and the spike in transactions was easily managed via the secure eSuite platform.
The launch of its new user friendly site sees the Irish News’ online readership expanding beyond Ireland and the newspaper is set to sees its consumers and subscribers increase above its current 40,000 print subscribers.
The launch of our new and improved website means we are now fully prepared to reach a greater audience, both in Ireland and around the world. The partnership between MPP Global and D-Share ensures our digital strategy is focused on providing this audience, and our future audiences, with the best possible user experience. We are now able to understand our consumers like never before.