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How Amedia converts women and young audiences into paid subscribers

2020-11-20. With 79 local publications, Amedia is Norway’s leading local news publishing group. The group has carried out a plan to attract young readers and women that has been remarkably successful. It has not only allowed them to increase the number of women and young people who now read the group’s newspapers but also to lead the growth in digital subscriptions.

by WAN-IFRA External Contributor info@wan-ifra.org | November 20, 2020

Amedia Executive Vice President Pål Nedregotten shared some of the key success factors at a new session of WAN-IFRA’s Digital Media LATAM 2020, for which Laboratorio de Periodismo Luca de Tena is a media partner. Georgina Ferri, Director of Innovation and Revenue at the ARA newspaper in Barcelona, moderated the session. 

According to Nedregotten, the plan to increase the number of digital subscriptions among women and young people has been a significant challenge. They are two of the most demanding audiences to attract and convert.

Getting women interested in the newspaper

They started analysing 660,000 news items, divided into categories to find out where women were most over-represented compared to the average, and in which types they were under-represented.

“The data obtained allowed us to go deeper and draw out a pattern. We found, for example, that we spoke more to men, we addressed them more, more men’s names were cited. We found that we had a problem there. The problem became more acute when we discovered that there was only one category with a “family” subcategory where the articles cited more women than in other sections. This indicated that when we ask someone as a journalist, we tend to ask men and interview men much more often than women. That’s one of the roots of the problem,” he said.

As a result, all that information was moved to the newsroom, and greater parity was sought in quoting sources in articles. In addition, a gender dashboard was introduced in the newsroom. The number of women and men reading the articles is reproduced in real-time, on a case-by-case basis, so that editors can see how well the articles are performing in terms of achieving female readers.

The progress has been undeniable with evident growth in the number of women subscribers. Journalists changed their practices, and the number of women subscribers is growing more than men, by 10.1 compared to 8.5.

Attracting young audiences too

In terms of age, “the pattern is similar,” says Nedregotten, adding: “The data are more complicated because it is difficult to know the age of a news source. There are no machine learning algorithms that allow this, as there are for detecting whether the source is male or female, but we analysed the content that might interest younger readers.

Several phases in the prelimianry research

We worked with 72 subscribers of the 79 newspapers in the Amedia group to analyse their tastes and preferences. Data from a thousand articles was analysed, and the findings were communicated to the editors.

A live results dashboard was launched to improve female audiences engageùment score, allowing editors to see how the articles they write generate loyalty in young people.

A manual on how to write articles for this age group was produced once the data had been analysed and the KPIs and targets had been set and monitored.

“If you want young people to be there, you have to start talking to young people. The age of the interviewee tends to correlate with the age of the reader. When we talk to young people, young readers are more interested in those articles. The handbook, for example, sets out guidelines on what topics do not usually work. For example, when talking about housing, young people do not usually pay attention to expensive housing or recreational homes. 

As a result of the new project, the number of subscribers under 40 has grown steadily since the launch of the programme.

Keys to improving results

Nedregotten also shared some keys that he considers fundamental for the success of the project:

  • Accepting that it matters who we talk to. Women tend to read to women and young people to young people.
  • Involve the editorial staff. Someone has to make sure that the project is fulfilled.
  • Discover what we should stop doing or stop prioritising. We have to stop doing things to focus on the objectives set.
  • Long term. “We are here to stay; this takes time”. We must not lose heart because it implies a change of culture in the newspapers.

This article was originally produced by Laboratorio de Periodismo from the Fundación Luca de Tena


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