Lessons on digital subscription from South China Morning Post and Denník N
Data-driven analysis of reader behaviour and editorial support are key building blocks of a successful digital subscription strategy, said leaders from South China Morning Post and Denník N. In August 2020, four years after the South China Morning Post (SCMP) made its articles freely accessible, the Hong Kong-based English-language newspaper brought back its paywall.
In the past year, the outlet has delved deep into digital subscription strategies, from playing with personalised conversion paths for readers, to setting up special squads that speed-test new services and disseminate learnings.
On the other side of the globe, Slovakia’s Denník N has focused on paid subscriptions from the start. Launched in 2014 by a group of journalists after the newspaper they were working at was bought by an oligarch, the outlet has built a profitable business purely based on reader revenue, with 65,000 active subscribers today. While the two newspapers differ in many ways: the geographies they operate in, the size of their readership, newsroom resources and more, Adrian Lee, SCMP’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Events, and Tomas Bella, Denník N’s Head of Digital, agreed that data-driven analysis of reader behaviour and editorial support are two key building blocks of success for digital subscription strategies.