Audience engagement at hybrid-model digital media houses: Tips from Scroll

2022-01-01. Scroll, one of the first purely-digital media outlets in India, follows a hybrid business model that includes reader revenue, advertising, donations and more. Karnika Kohli, growth manager at ScrollStack, believes this makes audience engagement very different for Scroll compared to those who follow a single model.

by Elizabeth Shilpa | January 1, 2022

“For us, audience engagement is not just limited to social media,” Kohli said speaking at WAN-IFRA’s 12-part webinar series in association with the Meta Journalism Project.

“It is also about how we present ourselves on the site, what our user interface looks like, how we perform on Google, how our SEO looks like, how we present our stories on Facebook, how we engage with our contributors or supporters and more,” she added.

Run by a small team, Scroll has about 10 million unique users every month. More than 10 percent of them are coming from the United States.

According to Kohli, the publisher has almost 8,000 recurring India and international subscriptions. The average contribution Scroll sees is Rs 3,000 (around US$ 40), which is more than double the average media subscription cost in India.

Scrolls’s business model mainly comprises subscriptions, contributions, their brand studio, which focuses on high-end advertising, programmatic advertising and journalism grants.

“You need to build your brand in such a way that it feels like an extension to your readers’ lifestyle. That's what we aspire to be,” Kohli said, elaborating on Scroll’s six-pronged audience engagement strategy.
Intuitive user interface
A very intuitive user interface is a really big part of Scroll’s audience engagement strategy. Kohli works with all the departments including marketing, tech and editorial to collect inputs that help in making the readers’ experience better.

A crucial insight ...

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