Adeprimo was commissioned by Göteborgs -Posten and Media Västkusten AB to develop a system to be able to charge for newspaper digital content.
Recent years have been hard for newspaper publishing houses. Declining circulation and changing reader behaviour have drastically reduced advertising sales and thus finances. These trends are largely due to the explosion of social media and smart devices. And this has made a permanent change in how we consume news.
Newspapers experienced a need to change their business models and to charge for digital content. The question was who would be first to do so in Sweden.
GP and MBVK took the step. Together.
GP and MBVK’s overarching need was to package the content of all channels, i.e. allow paying customers to access all content everywhere, so it was necessary to create a shared payment solution and single-sign-on. In other words, to charge for content, not the form of distribution, so as to create profitability for digital advertising and to obtain income in digital channels that reflects their readership. It was also make the administration of customers simpler and more efficient for customer services.
Naturally, there is concern about the transition from offering all content free on the internet to charging, and from going from one form of subscription to several. How would the users react and how would this affect circulation and advertising?
In order for everyone involved in the project to have the same target, we started with a workshop that gathered all the expertise that was to work on the project. The purpose being clarifying visions and aims so that the focus was clear to everyone from the start. The product should contribute to stopping the drop in circulation, attracting new target groups, offer added value and increase acceptance for charging for content, thus increasing advertising sales and improving the newspapers’ finances.
To do this, we needed to concentrate on the customer. What could we do to be a larger part of their everyday life, increase the experienced value and get them to use more channels?
This included offering more forms of subscription, making the same content available digitally and so creating the same experience, regardless of the channel used by the customer. As well as moving from physical plastic cards to mobile loyalty cards with digital offers, for a little more VIP feeling.
Work was carried out according to the Scrum method, with regular demos for the customer of how the project was progressing, so that the right priorities were always made on the basis of the customer’s and end users’ needs. We created personas for users and conducted regular tests with end users, both internal with those who would be using the administration interface and with those who would use the product for purchasing. Needs-governed development created a slimmed-down product and there is ongoing development as more needs arise – all in accordance with the Scrum method. Nothing is developed that isn’t needed and used.
Naturally, we noticed a number of technical and interface challenges, as always in larger development projects, there where short on development time with a fixed deadline. But the product owner group was in control and prioritised the product’s development while work was underway, so we succeeded in launching on time.
“This is part of our vision of making it easy for customers to use our products, as giving our employees good tools with which to help customers – regardless of whether it’s the hard copy newspaper or the digital one,” says Malin Stoldt at GP.
The result was an online shop and a new product in the Tulo family, PayWay, specially developed for the media industry to make it easier for customers to see the newspaper’s total offering and to complete purchases on the internet. PayWay includes packaging of the physical newspaper and digital products, flows for purchasing and payment, transactions via cards & SMS, links to the subscription system, single-sign-on for the services, “my account” for the customer and administration tools for customer service, such as a complete overview of the customer’s transactions.
• Traditional business models require adaptation to the internet.
• New technologies provide new definitions of who pays and who gets paid.
• Use the value of personal information – adapt and target communication based on user behaviour and needs.
• Experienced value increases acceptance for paying.
• The importance of working using Scrum and MVP, so that we always prioritise the right things in development, that it is needs-governed.
Göteborgs-Posten is the biggest morning paper in the west of Sweden, full of news from around the world, but always with an extra focus on Gothenburg and the west of Sweden. GP has a daily readership of more than 600,000 readers of the newspaper, on computers or tablets and mobiles. gp.se
Hallandsposten is Halland’s biggest and oldest newspaper, first issued on 30 July 1850. The newspaper is independently liberal in its editorials. Hallandsposten is available on paper, as an e-newspaper, on the internet and in mobiles and has a daily reach of 120,000 readers (Orvesto 2011). It is part of Mediebolaget Västkusten, MBVK. (Source: hallandsposten.se)
Hallands Nyheter has existed since 1905, and has been an important part of the regional inhabitants’ everyday lives. As a local paper (in Falkenberg and Varberg and their surroundings) the local news is most important. There are now more than 100,000 people who read Hallands Nyheter, as a paper, on the internet, in the mobile, on tablets, or as an e-newspaper. Part of Mediebolaget Västkusten, MBVK. (Source: hn.se)
Eskilstuna-Kuriren and Nya Lidköpings Tidningen have also chosen PayWay.
“The era of free reading is over. We want to be paid for the work we do. Be able to read it anywhere, at any time. It’s a matter of hygiene for us,” says Jörgen Bröms, head of digital development at Eskilstuna-Kuriren.
Semir Hasanbegovic, web manager at NLT, is in agreement. “Locally, we own something unique, news that is only ours. Good journalism costs and it’s natural to charge for it, whatever the channel readers choose to use. Because PayWay is continually developing we can be better at what we do.”
Jörgen also highlights the collaboration with other business groups as a decisive factor in why they chose PayWay. “There are so many issues that are shared. It’s excellent for the future development of the tool.”
We have so far launched PayWay to Göteborgs-Posten, Hallandsposten and Halland Nyheter, Eskilstuna-Kuriren, Södermanlands Nyheter, Katrineholms Kuriren, New Lidköpings-Tidningen, Västerbottens-Kuriren and Norran. Next up is Ålandstidningen and Mittmedia newspapers; Allehanda, Sundsvalls Tidning, Dagbladet Sundsvall, Dalarna Tidning, Dalademokraten, Hela Hälsingland, Gävle Dagblad, Arbetarbladet, Östersunds-Posten och Länstidningen are scheduled for launch this spring. Also Gota Media with its 11 newspaper launches in 2014-2015.
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