When so much news is free, the challenge for newspapers and TV networks everywhere is to innovate on digital platforms channels and make money. When you’ve maxed your domestic audience how do you grow new audiences? Most difficult and the most rewarding - how to get users pay for niche content? After they come on board, how do you make them keep loving you?
In New York, Deputy community editor of The Economist Adam Smith shares some of the magic potion with Nikhila Natarajan.
On his current assignment, Smith has flown across the pond from his London perch and pitched tent in the US East Coast to oversee the social media piece for the final bend of America’s most bizarre election.
Three million new readers are finding and clicking on the Economist website via social platforms every month. The Economist is constantly measuring return on investment on these metrics - Smith’s colleagues on the data analytics team can pinpoint exactly how many go on to become paying subscribers.
Media businesses have been shaken up by digital more than anybody else. The disruption is new and few could foretell it well in advance. In the process, many newspapers are on the same starting line in a new environment with few rules. Some are getting it right, some are going awfully wrong and learning from the debris around.
It’s been a big year for digital innovation at The Economist. The London based newspaper too has tweaked its work style to embrace digital technology so it can service its existing clients better and attract new ones.
Its short form journalism - Espresso shot now appears six days a week. Economist Films has become a core part of editorial output, there are 5 podcasts every week, Brexit was pushed heavily on Facebook Live and the social media team is testing bilingual content in China on platforms that work locally, especially Line. In India, it’s LinkedIn that’s showing promise.
What’s the secret sauce for winning on social?
Some clues here in this conversation which covers:
-- Facebook Live
-- Using archival content to increase volume
-- How user data can inform RoI