On one hand, publishers have the struggle of digital, on the other hand they have the daily battle for revenue. The key – it would seem – is to make a success of digital subscriptions.

This is exactly what Amedia did with their three stage plan.

Amedia, Norway’s largest local media company, developed aID which operates as a log-in system. This is done to develop digital habits and in turn allow the publisher to reach a wider audience. As in the case with other media companies, Amedia noticed a steady decline in advertising revenue and needed a solution.

So what are these three stages to digital subscription success?

Stage One – convert existing paper subscribers to digital

Amedia’s trick for this conversion was allowing print subscribers access to exclusive online content. Getting their 480,000 paying print subscribers to develop digital habits.

“The online log-in system was designed to give paying subscribers a reason to still be a subscriber, and create digital habits to help them find value in an online edition. said Pal Nedregotten, executive Vice-President of Amedia.

Giving their readers various options in the form of three simple packages:

  • complete access to print and digital,
  • weekday digital access, plus weekend print readership,
  • and a pure digital subscription.

Stage Two – Encouraging non-subscribers to register for a log-in…

… and by default, expanding the subscription market. A free trial offers readers the opportunity to get an aID log-in to access exclusive material. The log-in doesn’t expire once the trial is over, but remains valid which in turn allows Amedia to capture data and monitor what their audience is reading.

While the exclusive content disappears at the end of the trial, logged-in users can still comment on stories and receive more personalized campaigns.

Stage Three – Adding value to the user

Once users have registered, the plan is to move them up the value chain by up-selling. Below is a description of one of the deals that Amedia added for their subscribers:

“In autumn last year, we had roughly 300 subscriptions purchased every 24 hours, but when we did a campaign on Black Friday, we got 4,600 subscriptions – we had an initial subscriber discount on the day, that rose over a while to full price,”  said Pal Nedregotten.

As much as 87 percent of all subscription sales have been purchased online – proving the value of feeding into digital habits.

The biggest predicted attribute of digital subscriptions is that they are sustainable. They are able to continually evolve with both the product while staying modern and relevant.

Amedia is not stopping here, they have plans to further their digital subscription operations;

“We are testing different models such as regional and national subscriptions for existing customers, trying to figure out which packages will work in the future, but we will know more in the next year or so – we have a significant investment in data strategy and that is something we are looking at holistically,” said Pal Nedregotten.

Examples of other digital subscription perks

Measured pricing

The Wall Street Journal  hopes to retain and engage more customers with various packages on offer – one for digital only, and one for digital and print. The value of digital is offered with the heightened focus on constant updates and the ability to include video.

Premium digital branding

The Economist is an example of a brand that has optimized digital by venturing across platforms, creating a premium brand for themselves on multiple levels.

Leveling the playing field

Smaller outlets, such as 29th Street Publishing, now have the opportunity to expand digital readership on a competitive level. Whether it is expanding focus or on targeting a niche audience, third party developers are allowing an easier entry into the digital market.

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