Digital Media Europe 2022 — Wan-Ifra’s in-person event

Wan-Ifra’s Digital Media Europe conference welcomes back news media executives in-person

Digital Media Europe doubles down on in-person attendance and reader revenue deep dive. Photo

After two years of meeting virtually, Wan-Ifra’s flagship event will take place on the 1 and 2 June at the headquarters of Schibsted Media Group in Oslo, Norway. Attending publishers will have the opportunity to hear how some of the most cutting-edge news companies – national, regional and local publishers – are growing their reader revenue business. They will also have a chance to network and engage with not only the speakers but other like-minded attendees.

This year’s programme addresses some of the key issues publishers are tackling with their consumer-driven business – growth, retention, business models, onboarding, customer experience, making audio a part of the mix, and more. Here are just some of the publishers speaking at the event – 

Katja Fleischmann, head of performing content at dpa infocom in Germany, will share how the German news agency and the consulting firm Schickler launched the Drive project in 2020 in partnership with some 20 German newspaper groups (local and regional press). This collaboration focuses on digital subscriptions and joint experimentation to enable publishers to learn from each other about their users’ behavior and expectations, and how to encourage them to subscribe or stay subscribed. The initiative has produced a wealth of data and analyses, as participating publishers have access to some 120 dashboards, enabling them to benchmark their performance against the entire group or individual partners. That is just one benefit of the cooperation.

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Richard Furness, managing director of consumer revenues and publishing of Guardian News and Media in the UK, will share the numerous ways the iconic publisher is benefitting and evolving its consumer revenue business. At the end of November 2021, the Guardian reported a total of 1,000,035 digital subscriptions, comprising 419,541 digital subscriptions and 580,494 recurring contributions from supporters in 180 countries around the world.

Anne Tostain, vice-president of subscriptions at Le Monde in Paris, will talk about some of the key actions the iconic French publisher has taken to fuel growth in subscriptions. According to the Press Gazette, Le Monde has more than 520,000 paying subscribers across print and digital, having doubled its subscriber base since 2017, when its digital subscribers surpassed print for the first time. Some 420,000 subscribers are digital-only, with a growth rate of about 20% per year. Digital makes up 30% of the newspaper’s revenues.

Danuta Breguła, executive board member, director of membership strategy at Newonce in Poland, helped to build up Gazeta Wyborcza’s digital subscriptions (240,000) over the past years and left the Polish leading daily last year to join newcomer newonce, which focuses on urban culture. For this move, she chose a membership strategy, and perhaps for a good reason – newonce’s Gen Z audience.

Sidney Glastad, lead growth and target groups of Schibsted in Norway, will talk about how Aftenposten is honing its retention strategy. With 80% of Aftenposten’s revenues coming from subscriptions, with 140,000 digital-only subscriptions, the leading national quality daily depends on an ever-evolving growth and retention strategy. A big part of that includes the type of content that users consume the closer they get to their paywall.

Also from Schibsted, Therese Grieves, CX lead in Norway, will share how the media group is experimenting with compelling and effective onboarding strategies, what tests and analyses they are running to create habits and what they are doing to reduce churn.

The actual programme will kick off with this twist from one of the leading digital subscription pioneers in Scandanavia – Amedia. This is direct from the programme, “On the night of Tuesday 28 December 2021, Amedia, one of Norway’s largest media companies, was hit by a ‘severe’ cyber attack and was forced to shut down its IT systems. What happened next is the story Pål Nedregotten will tell us.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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