Two Latin American paywall success stories

While newspaper paywalls remain relatively rare in Latin America, two papers there have achieved success with paid-content strategies: O Globo in Brazil and Clarín in Argentina.

by Daniela Pena | August 14, 2018

This year, both are competing in WAN-IFRA’s LATAM Digital Media Awards as finalists in the Best Reader Revenue Initiative category.

First subscription model in Argentina

Aiming to create a new business model, Clarín launched its paywall last year.

Managers at the paper analyzed success stories from the USA, where 78 percent of the largest and most successful newspapers have put up paywalls. They also explored cases in Europe and Brazil.

They conducted a focus group composed of their most loyal readers, of whom 37 percent said they were willing to pay for Clarín’s content. Lastly, they implemented Big Data and UX techniques to analyze their audience’s behavior and loyal readers’ habits in order to enhance the production and distribution of editorial content.

Since the launch in late April 2017, Clarín has acquired 100,000 digital subscribers thanks to various strategies they have implemented so far:

  • Creating synergy among print and digital subscribers (“Soy 365”)
  • Granting benefits to the user beyond mere subscriptions (“Full Digital + 365”)
  • Coordinating their communications efforts in social media and other distribution channels, launching promotional campaigns with banners, mailings, videos, and articles.
  • Launching commercial sales campaigns offering special discounts to attract more sales and to promote brand loyalty (for instance, their participation in the 2018 “Hot Sale” helped increase digital subscriptions by 500 percent in just 5 days).

Data-driven digital subscription paywall in Brazil

A top priority this year for O Globo is to ensure that its digital-content business model generates income to offset a 16-percent drop in print circulation in Brazil. The newspaper found itself facing a common dilemma: how to improve its paid content strategy and refine its paywall without losing audience.

In 2017 the paper’s staff conducted an analysis of its readers’ propensity to pay for content and to subscribe to paid offers. They began by gathering all the data from the site for the 30 days prior to the study to analyze it and create a statistical model with more than 100 variables to identify users with this propensity to buy, segmented by means of their DMP (data management platform).

Based on that information, they implemented new parameters for the paywall and began producing exclusive content for their digital subscribers. As a result, the number of digital subscriptions soared by 183 percent in 2017. They also increased their conversion rates in e-mail and telemarketing campaigns.

O Globo’s digital circulation grew by 24 percent during the same year. Via Google Analytics the staff found increases of 20 percent in pageviews and 16 percent in sessions.

> Read the Spanish-language version of this post.

To find out who wins the Best Reader Revenue Initiative category, don’t miss the awards ceremony during the 2018 Digital Media LATAM conference, in Bogotá, Colombia, on 14-16 November.

The international and most diverse jury yet evaluated the entries based on the understanding and management of brand strengths, clarity for the reader or consumer, and whether there is an effective call to action.

This category will reward the best new initiative or paid content marketing campaign, with the aim of increasing the income derived from digital subscriptions or single purchase.

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