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Last week Froomle sponsored the Digital Media Europe 2023 event in Vienna, hosted and organized by WAN IFRA. This conference brings together industry leaders and provides valuable insights on the latest trends and best practices in the news industry over two days. The topics were varied and all extremely relevant, but we wanted to zero in on some key takeaways that we will be keeping top of mind in the months ahead.
AI and its many uses has been a key topic of conversation over the past few months, and with how quickly the technology is evolving we are sure it will continue to be in the months to come. So how can newsrooms adapt and use this to their advantage? As described in the panel focusing on this topic, the panel agreed it's helpful to think of AI as a “pain killer”, helping to automate redundant tasks, or a “vitamin”, creating or increasing new tasks, products or features. Every newsroom will be different in where AI can be helpful, but in general there tends to be a lot of low hanging fruit that newsrooms can implement.
Wojciech Ehrenfeld, Head of IT Services at Onet.pl, gave a great example using AI as a painkiller when discussing the importance of using editorial automation to improve overall operations, resulting in higher productivity and quality of news.
The AI discussion also touched on another important aspect of AI in the newsrooms, which is not talked about enough: company guidelines on how to use such technologies and when. With the amount of technologies available, having clear and concise guidelines helps to ensure consistency across functions, while making sure the goal of AI within the newsroom is clear for all involved.
At this point, the industry is well aware that video engagement tends to be higher than text engagement, especially when it comes to Gen Z. This was further emphasized throughout the conference, first with a case study presented by Helge Birkelund, Vice President Sports, from Amedia and also by Tobias Henning, General Manager, from TikTok Germany & Central Eastern Europe, who both advocated for different uses of video by newsrooms.
Amedia was on a journey to increase the use of their aID program, and decided to build their own sport video platform to encourage users to register using their aID. Recognizing the importance of local and relevant content, they focused on showing this kind of content to their users. This led them to achieve great levels of engagement, especially when comparing video to text content.
Tobias described the uniqueness of the TikTok platform in that it is optimized for Content Graph over Social Graph, meaning that even with few followers content can go viral. As newsrooms make decisions of which channels to incorporate into their larger digital strategies, this is a platform that can push newsrooms to create new kinds of content to reach audiences in innovative ways.
These sessions really proved that video is here to stay and whether you are targeting a niche audience or Gen Z, there is a use case to be considered.
Converting users into long term subscribers is not a new concept, however not only are the tactics to do this evolving but so is the importance of evolving retention strategies in the subscription based business mode of the news industry.
Sophie Heinzen, Product Manager, and Julia Morein, Director Customer Engagement & Lifecycle, shared their experience of testing a new subscription offer, inspired by The Boston Globe’s standard offer, during the redesign of the Rheinische Post's digital platform. With a focus on engagement and brand awareness, they ran a number of experiments to understand what levers would make a subscriber pay a normal subscription rate after a promotional one. As a result they concluded that trial periods were good, but ensuring a top notch experience throughout is really key.
In the same vein, Christian Röpke, Chief Digital Officer, from Die Ziet emphasized a similar point, that the trial period, especially within the first few hours of conversion, is crucial to retaining that subscriber. They found a clear positive correlation between engagement on the platform and payment of the subscription after the trial period. They also pointed to personalization as being a key factor in showing the most relevant content to the subscriber, resulting in increased engagement.
As users continue to take on more subscriptions, convincing them to subscribe and then also remain loyal is no easy feat. However, with experimentation and personalization, these tasks can become easier.
It was a jam packed two days in Vienna, and our team certainly came back invigorated and excited about the trends in the industry. From how to use AI in the newsroom, understanding how video can be used in a variety of ways to boost digital strategies and seeing how different publishers are tacking conversion and retention of subscribers, there was no shortage of tips and tricks for the audience.
Curious about how Froomle can help with these trends? Let’s chat!
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