Free trial pays off for Ekstra Bladet freemium content

Seven weeks from launch, the 40% conversion rate from Ekstra Bladet’s free trial shows that some readers are willing to pay for quality content on tabloid (or so called ‘boulevard’) news websites.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | July 5, 2013

Back in May we reported on the launch of EKSTRA, the paper’s freemium content model that focuses on “extra quality journalism and investigative articles” that would previously not have been published on the site.

More than one million Danes visit every week and the site now has 5,500 active subscribers with 40% already converted from the free trial, paying DKK 29 (€4) per month.

According to Lisbeth Langwadt, head of editorial at EKSTRA, “Quality journalism is in focus at EKSTRA, and fortunately it pays off. It is crucial that disclosures, detective journalism, crime investigation, critical consumer journalism, politics and sports are core EKSTRA components.”

Of course this is just one part of news site’s identity – and freemium content includes extended lifestyle coverage and the famous daily page 9 girl.

One of the subscription offering’s unique features is the easy ‘stop-start’ button. “We want to ensure that our subscribers don’t fear subscribing to EKSTRA, worrying about unfair or fuzzy conditions,” says Astrid Jørgensen, head of commercial at EKSTRA.

Many other tabloid news websites will be following Ekstra Bladet’s progress with interest, for example the Sun in the UK, which will launch a paywall in August, or Bild in Germany which launched a similar ‘Bild Plus’ content model four weeks after EKSTRA.

These are still early days and Ekstra Bladet Editor-in-Chief Poul Madsen admits that “national and international learnings demonstrate that creating a well-functioning and highly-profitable digital subscription plan is going to be a long haul.” But for now, he and his team are content with their progress.

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