“Less Is More, Forget The Mass” : An Explorative Study on Product Transformation Strategies for Subscription-first Newspapers
Abstract: The competitive market of the newspaper industry has undergone considerable changes driven by new technology, the internet and changing audience behavior. The industry is facing two current crises, the decline in print and advertising revenues, and at the same time, the growth of free online content. One of the major challenges for traditional newspapers is to find new ways to increase digital revenues to make-up for these losses. This study uses qualitative interviews and readership data collected from a large traditional publisher to explore how the newspaper can reshape the customer value proposition and increase digital subscriptions. Additionally, the study uses case examples from the industry to combine theoretical reflections with practical development. The newspapers need to continue to explore new opportunities in media, and balance focus between traditional and newer, more radical activities. In the future, success will be dependent on the integration of value-added elements. The findings suggest that traditional newspapers should enhance the value proposition by investing even more in high-quality and multimedia journalism. The audience is willing to pay if the product has a high relative value and is differentiated from the free online news. This can be done by an extensive integration of technology into the journalistic processes and a more defined product. Further, the publisher needs to abandon mass media models and offerings that provide something for everyone, instead offering niches and limited-edition news products to add new revenue streams.
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