It’s all about the hype cycle. Most publishers have been working on paid content for two years and now most of those, bar the early adopters, are approaching the trough of disillusionment, following the peak of inflated expectations.
However, it is completely appropriate to question our approach, Waller said. We have to question and accept the majority are not always right when it comes to assuming that metered or freemium models is the way to go. He states that we need to understand our customers in order to understand which model is right – this starts with understanding the five categories of readers.
Waller breaks this down to: flybys, occasionals, regulars, fans and hardcores. Newspapers need to analyse the percentage of loyal users they have in order to make a choice of model. This alone is a significant challenge for publishers.
Consider data and cater to your market
What makes this challenge tougher is the fact that we need to consider the demographics of our readers. Let’s break this down with an example from Germany: A publication has 38 percent of existing subscribers who cannot consider consuming news online in the next 10 years – these are the Digital Outsiders. The good news is that a further 40 percent are Digital Natives and the remaining 20 percent are Digital Immigrants. This data should be strongly considered in the development of a strategy and publishers need to consider how they can cater for their market.
Waller said this process can take one to two years, and in the meantime newspapers who are not advanced in their paid content strategy should consider the potential of ePaper subscriptions. In fact, around 20 percent of newspaper subscriptions in Germany are ePaper subscriptions and 10 percent of those are new customers.
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