Newspapers Doing Well With Membership Clubs Instead Of Paywalls
from the join-the-club dept
Take, for example, the street-level bookshop at Politiken, the leading newspaper in Denmark. I stopped in there one drizzly Saturday morning last Fall after teaching in Poynter's Scandinavian Summer School. I picked up a couple of travel guides and an English language version of a popular Danish novel. But I paid my bill and left the shop oblivious to the range of products and services available to Politiken subscribers via its Politiken Plus loyalty program.This actually fits in well with some of the suggestions that people came up with back at the Techdirt Saves* Journalism event last month, highlighting how publications can focus on building up services for the community which keep them loyal to the publication and the community itself.
"We can say 70 percent of (our subscribers) use Politiken Plus during the year," the paper's sales and marketing director, Poul Skott, told the authors of the WAN report. "The more products we have the better ... the harder it is to say good-bye to the newspaper. It's going to hurt a bit, because you can only get a Plus card as a newspaper subscriber."
This Google translate page will give you a sense of what the program offers, including special offers on travel, restaurants and theater, and how the activities and deals of Politiken Plus are integrated into the newspaper.
It sounds like the early results from such programs suggest they work well (or, at the very least, better than comparable newspapers that don't use them). Still, reading through the analysis, it still feels like most publications are looking at these programs as ways to "retain subscribers," not as a central reason to buy. That is, they're still focused on "selling the newspaper" with this is a bonus add-on, rather than trying to sell this bundle, which is made more valuable by getting the news as well.