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Journalist Fellows' Papers

How media companies use data to sign up digital subscribers (and keep them)

Paper by RISJ Journalist Fellow

Journalist fellow Michael Leitner takes a deep dive into media organisations who already use data to efficiently acquire, engage and furthermore keep subscribers. Do we need automated paywalls, and what data do we need to use to keep readers interested?

Key Insights

  • Dynamic paywalls are no silver bullet solution
  • If you want to keep your subscribers, watch their behaviour
  • Predicting churn is easy, preventing it is hard
  • Privacy regulation adds a big question mark
  • New players focus on acquisition, first movers bet on retention
  • Don’t try to hit everything with the machine-learning hammer
  • Know who, what, and why you’re tracking
  • The newsroom needs to understand your goals and metrics
  • Create flexible structures, so everybody can participate
  • Content is still king over software and tech strategy

Image: Anushree Fadnavis via Reuters