Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission To truly transform, local media must build powerful digital brands, driven by highly-engaged audiences and diverse revenue models. LMA’s Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission is laser-focused on helping media leaders do just that! Learn directly from several of the most progressive media companies in North America, with takeaways that will empower you to build unique, profitable digital businesses
all the numbers behind the washington post's digital subscription success
While incredibly impressive, the strategies behind The Washington Post’s success are applicable to all media companies, starting with its data-driven approach to audience engagement and subscriber acquisition. That's why they were part of the Innovation Mission this week in what was a signature visit where attendees met with the consumer marketing leadership team to discuss acquisition, retention, and engagement strategies that local media companies can put to practice.
A few numbers to start with about their paywall:
71% of site visitors come once and never return in the same month
36% of visitors read 2 articles per month (and don't hit a paywall)
52% of paywall hitters see the wall more than once in the same month
30% of annual subscribers retain at a higher rate than monthly subscribers
58% of digital subscribers have an annual subscription
Here’s how the Post attempts to education the casual reader:
— Embrace “the button test” (do variant testing). The blue button in their top banner led to a 33% increase in conversation rate.
— “Say hello first” (not just put a paywall in front of them) – a way of welcoming casual reader.
— Tried offering a water bottle with monthly or annual purchase – saw great conversion rates.
What they have today
Today, they have a basic product (web/mobile access -- $10 every 4 weeks) and a premium product (Basic + 30-day codes to send to friend/family member -- bonus subscription + access to ebooks). They also they have an Academic Rate: active college students / faculty ($5 every 4 weeks). Basic is $100/yr; and Premium: is $150/yr
A little about engaged readers
— When they hit their second piece of content, The Post lets them know “we’re glad you’re enjoying WaPo. You’re almost out of free articles for this month." The goal is still trying to educate them, and also give them an opportunity to avoid the paywall experience.
— Conversion rates by acquisition source: 1) Subscribe button 2) In-article subscribe module 3) Subscription reminder 4) Paywall 5) In-article right rail module
They are not seeing paywall starts going down.
Optimize Channels that Drive Conversion
— Email (Jan-Sept) vs. other offsite (FB, Twitter, programmatic, etc.) – email consistently is the champion of driving subscription
— Look at the content readers are consuming, then determine what’s most valuable
— Does content drive subs off-site, too? What content to put in marketing emails? Test: Content-rich email performed much better – 14% increase in CTR; +44% conversion rate; +31% more conversions
— Discover optimal promotion rates: $90 offer performed almost the same as the $80 offer, so they went with the $90 offer.
this is how industry dive has built a diverse revenue model with b2b verticals
Industry Dive has figured out how to make niche content brands the foundation of sustainable, high-growth media businesses.
On Wednesday, the Innovation Mission visited their company, which specializes in B2B verticals, from education to health care to marketing, and has built a diverse revenue model built on deep brand integration and lead-gen programs for advertisers.
Let's first start off with what they currently look like.
Their audience is executives in very specific niches. Interestingly, their CEO says they are not really that concerned with their traffic numbers.
Their list of clients is pretty impressive.
They boost strapped the entire thing.
For Industry Dive, it's all about the niche.
This is what Industry Dive looks for when picking a niche market.
Their ad model offers a lot of solutions in deep, meaningful ways.
And these are the ad models they believe in.
WHAT THE ATLANTIC IS DOING WITH ITS MASTHEAD MEMBERSHIP MODEL AND EVENTS BUSINESS
During the Innovation Mission visit to the Atlantic on Tuesday, attendees learned how they developed their Masthead premium membership model and what they are doing that is making their events business so successful.
Masthead connects members directly to the newsroom, features ad-free reading and listening, provides priority access to unique events and community experiences, and more.
Here is what we learned about The Atlantic from their president Michael Finnegan.
The Atlantic’s core transformation tenets are: Brand Power, Revenue Diversification, Constant Experimentation , Data and Value of Niche Content.
These are their current challenges:
• The Shifting Digital Advertising Landscape: It may still be growing, but it is much more marginal (10-15% instead of 30-40%)
• They believe there is an appetite out there for paying for quality content and that there are changes happening in consumption habits to support this.
• When it comes to relationships with platforms and data they believe we need to act in coordination as an industry to make sure we’re being treated fairly.
And here’s their current approach to their business:
• Today they let each individual Atlantic Media brand tell its own story (vs. 1 unified brand).
• When it comes to the Masthead they say it’s important to think about superfans and give them a level of access they haven’t had before.
• With the Masthead they are trying to figure out how to engage with those who are already big fans and want to deepen their involvement.
Emily Akhtarzandi, Managing Director, Atlantic Live shared a variety of viewpoints with the Innovation Mission group around their events business:
• 20 percent of overall Atlantic revenue (more revenue than print) is coming from their events business.
• Their events division has its own marketing and editorial teams rooted in the same ideals that The Atlantic stands for.
• They have hosted 153 events in 2018 across 25 markets and can be everything from morning forums to half/full-day festivals.
• They have a team of 10 focused on reporting/producing on that event. And they have a team of 5 that curates audiences.
• They see the business going forward being much larger events.
• They do some “pop-up events” that are author talks with cover stories in The Atlantic.
Here is a breakdown on the events:
• Aspen Ideas Festival: $3500 to attend 3.5 days
• The Atlantic Festival: 3500 attendees over 3 days
• CityLab: 500 attendees, brings 35 international mayors together; not ticketed, but invite-only
• Single-Topic Events:
• Humanity + Tech
• Pulse: The Summit on Healthcare
• Future of Work
• The Power of Purpose
• Opioid Epidemic
• Cancer Summit
• China Summit
• Future of Mobility
some of our favorite photos from day 2
tweets WE'LL REMEMBER from those on the innovation mission in washington, d.c.
At the hashtag #LMAIM, attendees on this week's Innovation Mission in Washington, D.C. are Tweeting up a storm. We have collected some of the best of their Tweets below.
The group heard about everything happening around audio on their visit to McClatchy.
A moving sign can be seen at McClatchy for Austin Tice.
Lots to love about Gannett's mission statement.
Exciting to hear where ideas get support or don't at Gannett.
OKRs a big deal at Gannett, even at the reporter level.
Inspirational quote on what brand is really all about.
It's all about doing fewer things but with greater impact.
NPR is a pretty special place.
That Tiny Desk.
what media executives taking part in this week's innovation mission hope to take home
Media executives are meeting in Washington, D.C. this week to learn from some of the most innovative companies growing audiences and new revenue opportunities as part of the Innovation Mission program.
Get to know this impressive group:
Audience Development Lead
Graham Media Group
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? Placing our audiences at the center of what we do is critical for growth in every aspect of our business. My goal for 2019 is to end the one-to-many thinking in our newsrooms and replace it with deep listening to community needs and solutions-based journalism.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … I gain insights into building a membership program.
General Manager, KSL.Com
Deseret Digital Media
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? Increasing our use of data to improve our products, and expanding our business into new product verticals.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … I come away with a better idea of how other companies are innovating in the changing media landscape.
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? To help media organizations drive conversion and retention by cultivating and growing an engaged community around their content.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if ... I come back with a better understanding of how publishers are engaging their audience and driving financial sustainability.
President & Co-Founder
Second Street, Inc.
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? I wear a few hats but whether its Second Street, our Ownership of St. Louis Magazine or the LMA Board.... a huge focus is on how to use database growth and engagement to drive a diversification of revenue streams. We’re also putting a lot of focus into working with sales teams on putting the right processes in place to drive success.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if …. we uncover at least one, actionable idea to help us drive success for Second Street and our partners and I make at least one enduring professional and personal relationship. I haven’t failed for this to come true on any on my past LMA IMs.
Manager of Business Development
Trib Total Media
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? My job is to increase YOY revenue and maintain healthy profit margins for 535media across all of its product lines. We have gained a great deal of traction in being the digital fulfillment entity for national and local agencies through SEO, SEM, and DSP advertising. Our growth strategies for 2019 include the acquisition of new fulfillment partner agencies and trade organizations. With the influx of business that has happened recently we also have a strong focus on growing our fulfillment team to increase capacity on our back end as well as identify and implement new innovative revenue streams.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … I absorb all the knowledge that I can from these world-renowned organizations
Director, US Customer Success
Leap Media Solutions / BlueVenn
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? My strategies and goals for 2019 include:
· Expanding the BlueVenn Customer Success team in 2019 to provide more comprehensive support for our US based customers;
· Attending select conferences and events to help increase awareness of the importance of a CDP, in general, and the use of BlueVenn’s award winning technology, in particular.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … we can transfer the knowledge gleaned on this trip to our coalition of publishers and broadcasters.
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? Our top growth strategy revolves around targeted digital subscriptions. We have reviewed the past year and compiled a list of those stories which drew multiple subscriptions. Those ideas and similar ones have been assigned to reporters and a Trello document compiled.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … I can return to Australia with new ideas that will further enhance our push to greater digital subscriptions and revenue.
Sr. Director Digital Sales Strategy
Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? We are focused on growing our custom/native content programs, programmatic/passive revenue, federal programs, and digital agency products. We will also launch a redesigned website, which should assist with increased volume, viewability, and advertiser results.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if …. we can come away with one viable consumer revenue strategy that can be implemented in 2019 or 2020.
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? We aim to help guide our media partners in directions that make sense for them and provide the tools to implement whatever strategies they need.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … I can be an advocate for our media partners and provide them with more of the tools they need to grow their business.
Head Digital Officer
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? We’re working to refine our brand position in light of our overall portfolio. We see that as a vital way to drive additional growth this year.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C., Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if .. we take home with us a few actionable strategies to improve our business and increase our reach. On innovation missions, I value what I learn from presenters but I value even more highly the questions and insights from the other attendees. I look forward to meeting and learning from each of you.
Hubbard Radio D.C.
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? For audience growth, we are going to launch a new version of our main news site, promote our app and alternative listening (app and smart speakers) and do research targeting 30-40 year olds to determine their news preferences. For revenue growth we will focus on building our external digital and custom media business couple with a continued push on dealing directly with decision makers at the corporate level.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … I come up with three innovations that I can implement within the next year that will provide significant ROI
SVP / Circulation Director
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019?
- Better understand our individual consumers of content
- Better understand who is consuming our content
- What content they specifically are consuming
- How often are they consuming
- How do we best communicate with these individuals along the funnel process
- Reporting that is more consumer specific, not just a number of unique visitors.
The Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … I am able to walk away with information on a sustainable digital subscription business model, that can work for a newspaper more in line with our market size. For me, that includes the ability to truly understand who our digital readers are, and how they are consuming our content. I know that’s a mouthful, but I’m hoping this session will start to round out addressing many of our Consumer Revenue teams initiatives. The funnel analogy is not new to the industry or any business for that matter, but placing a focus on specifically “who” these consumers are, t me is the most important thing we need
Director of Digital Platforms
Lee Enterprises, Inc.
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019? Initiate positive change, transfer the passion, be effective.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … It’s a catalyst to efficiencies, revenue or adds intellectual capital that exceed the cost.
Product Manager for News Strategy
In a sentence or two, please describe your top growth strategies & goals for 2019?
(1) To push McClatchy to be an industry leader for boosting trust and transparency, and to better tie these practices to tangible metrics at multiple stages of the funnel (including especially reach and search referrals, and whether these practices are drivers of subscription conversions).
(2) To do more with segmentation and analytics, so we can better serve content experiences based on typology and propensity to subscribe.
(3) To do more to flatten the product development process and make it more transparent to all stakeholders, including especially our many newsrooms.
Complete this sentence: the Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission will be a success for me and my company if … I learn about ideas and strategies that we can implement and benefit from at McClatchy, and if I meet people to stay in touch with for ongoing collaboration!
3 video projects from mcclatchy's video lab you just have to watch
There are a variety of new franchises emerging from McClatchy’s Video Lab that power rich storytelling experiences.
The Washington, D.C. Innovation Mission kicked off on Monday with a several-hour visit to McClatchy where attendees learned about a variety of initiatives happening at McClatchy, including their impressive video work.
First, a few things to know about McClatchy’s video efforts:
• McClatchy formed a central video lab in 2015 to support their 30 newsrooms in video production, strategy, workflows and product.
• In 2018, their video efforts generated the following results for their O&O business:
55% growth in video views
45% growth in uniques
9% growth in views/visit
• As part of their drone program, ,ore than 50 journalists are licensed and trained to fly per FAA requirements.
Here are three videos you should know about:
1. Titletown, TX
Titletown, TX follows the lives of incarcerated teenagers and their mentors/coaches at Gainesville State School, the largest of 6 state-run juvenile detention facilities in Texas.
2. The War Within
This was a 10-part documentary series exploring veterans living with PTSD.
The "Carruth" project takes listeners inside one of Charlotte’s most notorious murders. In 1999, NFL rising star Rae Carruth conspired and executed a plot to have his pregnant girlfriend, Cherica Adams murdered.