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.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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