Global News, one of Canada’s leading news organizations, have chosen Sophi.io, an AI-powered automation, optimization and prediction platform developed by The Globe and Mail, to automate their website content curation. Following their strong value of innovation, they will be using Sophi Site Automation to autonomously place digital content across their website. Global News is extremely innovative in their approach to culture and have worked intensively with Sophi to drive culture change so much so that their editorial team sees the value of bringing AI into the newsroom and is looking forward to working with this new technology. Sophi Site Automation analyses all of their content, from video to text, and shuffles each piece of content to place the most valuable content in the most valuable places on their digital properties in order to ensure their content helps them achieve their business goals. Sonia Verma, Editor-in-Chief at Global News, said “Our innovative and data-driven editorial team is looking forward to working hand in hand with Sophi to bring automation into our newsroom and drive powerful decisions that will help us better serve our audiences.” Gabe Gonda, VP at Sophi.io, commented, “Global News, one of Canada’s preeminent news and information companies, is a phenomenal addition to our customer base. We are excited to help them marry their high level of talent with state-of-the-art ML technology that will help drive significant business results.” About Global News Global News offers Canadians from coast to coast a host of news and information—from breaking news in their community to deep, engaging content that puts complex world issues in perspective. Global News remains committed to serving audiences with fact-based, accurate, and comprehensive news coverage. Canadians can turn to Global News as a trusted source of information on television, radio and online including the flagship newscast Global National and daily local newscasts across the country. Global News is a Corus Entertainment network. About Sophi.io Sophi.io (https://www.sophi.io) was developed by The Globe and Mail to help content publishers make important strategic and tactical decisions. It is a suite of AI and ML-powered automation, optimization and prediction solutions that include Sophi Site Automation, Sophi for Paywalls and Sophi for First Party Data. Sophi also powers one-click automated laydown of template-free print publishing. Sophi is designed to improve the metrics that matter most to your business, such as subscriber retention and acquisition, engagement, recency, frequency and volume.
Advance Local is one of the largest media groups in the United States. It operates 10 leading news and information organizations and reaches 55 million people monthly across multiple platforms with its high-quality journalism. It is dedicated to unrivaled local journalism that improves the lives of millions of people. As the Coronavirus hit and Americans reached increasingly for local news sources, Advance Local was in markets where it was the leading provider of crucial news. It was also facing advertising pressure and recognized the benefits of diversifying its revenue stream. It decided to start with a paywall. Its paywall included a meter and premium content, and it experienced success with its premium content but believed more could still be done. Advance started to explore Sophi.io to get better insights into the value of its content and fuel its new subscription business. Advance started using Sophi Content Paywall Engine on one of its largest sites, cleveland.com. The technology uses advanced natural language processing to analyze every piece of content and select which articles to put behind a paywall. It picks only those articles where the subscription revenue opportunity outweighs the advertising revenue forgone. An experiment was setup so Advance could see how Sophi performed side by side with its existing paywall, and the results confirmed it had make the right decision. Sophi generated a 45% life in subscription conversions, and uncovered pockets of content that editors didn’t anticipate would generate subscriptions. The test ran for 60 days and the results spoke for themselves. Sophi was able to dramatically increase subscriptions. Advance Local is now committed to rolling out more Sophi solutions across its local brands.
The media industry has historically driven its bottom line with advertising revenue but there is a significant shift underway from ad-revenue to consumer-revenue models. For content publishers, it’s abundantly clear that there is one clear path forward to future-proofing in a disrupted industry, and that’s focusing on developing a targeted subscription strategy. Consumers are becoming the primary revenue source for news media globally. The market for digital subscriptions is expected to double in size by 2025, up to $1.5T. Publishers are looking to diversify their bottom line, and capture revenue through reader pay – a much more reliable source than advertising. Consumer revenue accounts for more than half of total revenue for many of the biggest players on the global stage. The New York Times’ digital subscription business for example, accounts for approximately 67% of its revenue as of the third quarter of 2021, and for Canada’s National newspaper, The Globe and Mail, subscription revenue accounts for 70%. The subscription game is not for the faint of heart. It is a fiercely competitive landscape given that readers have countless news sources to scroll through, some of which have new, enticing product extensions popping up to appeal to the next generation of readers (or retain existing ones), and ongoing pricing battles to win over a very precious audience pool. While the subscription economy is accelerating, there is still plenty of room to grow. But what strategies make the most sense for publishers new to the subscription game? And what about publishers who have launched a subscription business, but aren’t reaping the reader pay rewards in the ways they may have hoped to? There are three simple stages to getting lift-off and taking your subscription strategy to new heights. 1. You have quality journalism, it’s time to monetize it. You’ve decided as a publisher that it’s time to refocus your subscription strategy. For some, this is a new priority that requires a complete overhaul of your revenue model. For others, you may have already implemented a paywall, however you’ve reached a ceiling and subscription growth has plateaued. Sound familiar? It’s a fine balance finding the right mix that will drive subscription conversion without having a negative impact on your advertising bottom line – and let’s be clear, advertising is far from dead. Whether you’re new to the subscription game or a veteran looking to drive results, a dynamic paywall is the Rolls Royce of the subscription fleet – it knows when to ask a reader to pay for a subscription, when to ask them to register, and when to leave them alone, so those who are unlikely to ever subscribe can continue freely consuming your content and contributing to your advertising targets. Using technology similar to what you might find in a video game, the right dynamic paywall knows how to get each reader to their highest value state, using predictive modelling and machine learning. The dynamic paywall has helped publishers like The Globe and Mail not only increase subscription conversion by 51%, but also increase registrations by 222%. That’s a significant new audience pool to engage with, and ultimately draw down the funnel. 2. When you have a captive audience, get to know them, and keep them. If we have learned anything in the digital era, it’s that being nimble, and adapting to customer needs is top priority, not to mention, will give you a competitive edge. While news media continues to compete on product, the key differentiator is who best understands their customer. Having behavioural data helps organizations understand how their customers interact across their site. The result? They can drive better user engagement and personalize the experience in real time to drive acquisition and/or retention goals. Some companies like Reuters are using site automation not only to give the stories with the greatest value more promotion on site, but they are also often the stories that readers both want and need to know. This is a great tactic not only to engage their audience more deeply by surfacing the highest value articles, but editors in turn have more time to find the next big story. Segmenting your content and personalizing user experience (where possible) will engage new, and retain existing, readers. Recency, frequency, and volume (RFV) is often used to predict a subscribers’ propensity to churn. The more they visit, the more they read, and the shorter the time between visits to your site is a great determinant of whether they are likely to remain a customer – or not. Delivering valuable, relevant, and timely content will accelerate those results in your favour, keeping subscribers (and registered users) engaged in the content that is most relevant to them. These are great metrics to help retain customers, but how do you create a customer journey that encourages those anonymous users to register (or even better, subscribe)? There has to be a certain level of give and take and one-to-one interaction to get a prospective customer to give you something in return for access to more content or reader benefits – ideally a credit card number, but an email address can be a great starting point! Commenting, for example, has become a popular method to get readers into the funnel, where they can engage with a community of like-minded individuals, while in parallel, your organization can start to learn more about their interests and reading habits. Capturing first party data has become a top priority for publishers looking ahead to 2023, when they will no longer be able to rely on third party cookies. Some technologies can predict when to ask a reader for personal information, based on their propensity to respond. 3. Grow big or go home. The final stage in subscription growth is adding scale to your business, and making a meaningful impact to your bottom line. As an example, when The Globe and Mail first began its journey 10 years ago, reader revenue accounted for 30% of total revenue, while 70% was advertising revenue. Investing in Sophi for Paywalls technology allowed The Globe to accelerate its reader pay strategy, now accounting for 70% of its bottom line. That’s not to say that tech solutions are the only path forward to drive scale, but having smart innovation to help your company evolve faster and more efficiently should certainly be an important piece of your growth strategy. As the media industry continues to innovate and face disruption in the digital era, the organizations that rise to the top will be the ones who find ways to be agile and prioritize strategies to grow revenue through subscriptions using cutting edge technology.
INMA announced its 2022 Global Media Awards winners yesterday and Naviga Publisher powered by Sophi.io, an automated print laydown solution, came in second in the Best Innovation in Newsroom Transformation category, for it’s work automating print laydown for Agderposten. Agderposten, a regional daily newspaper publishing 30 to 60 pages daily and serving over 25,000 readers in print across Norway, was looking for a solution that would give their editors back the time they needed to focus on creating digital content, instead of the tedious print process. The Globe and Mail’s Sophi.io and Naviga came together to develop a solution that automates up to 80% of their print laydown process and realized a 66% reduction in time and resources – lowering the cost of producing their printed newspaper and enabling them to reassign their journalists to creating digital content rather than operating InDesign. One judge commented: “This is a great project helping journalists and making sure they can spend their time on creating great stories instead of doing layout. Great success rates – e.g. 66% reduction in time and resources - Really nice project!!” Another judge noted: “Real impact in freeing up more time for journalism and much more efficient process without loss of quality. Impressive.” Read more here.
Advance Local, one of the largest media groups in the United States operating 10 leading news and information organizations and reaching 55 million people monthly, has quadrupled their subscription goal using Sophi Content Paywall Engine. Faced with advertising pressures exacerbated by the Coronavirus, Advance Local increased subscription conversions 45% using Sophi.io, an AI-powered automation, optimization and prediction platform developed by The Globe and Mail. Their success with Sophi has also earned them a spot as a finalist in the Digiday Media Awards, announced this week. Neil Katz, Chief Customer Officer at Advance Local, said, “We wanted to see how much farther Sophi could take us, so we tested Sophi Content Paywall on one of our largest sites. The results were transformative. We were hoping for a 10% lift in conversion rate and Sophi delivered four times that result. We’re continuing to roll out Sophi solutions across more of our sites as we speak.” Advance started using Sophi Content Paywall Engine on one of their largest sites, cleveland.com, to get better insights into the value of their content and fuel their new subscription business. The technology uses advanced natural language processing (NLP) to analyze every piece of content and select which articles to put behind a paywall. It picks only those articles where the subscription revenue opportunity outweighs the advertising revenue forgone. During an experiment where Advance could see how Sophi performed side by side with their existing paywall, Sophi presented roughly the same amount of paywalls and generated a 45% lift in the total conversion rate, while also uncovering pockets of content that editors didn’t anticipate would generate subscriptions. John Hassell, Senior Vice President and Editorial Director at Advance Local, said “We wanted to see if Sophi’s content paywall could increase subscriber acquisition by 10% and it blew that goal out of the water. We’re feeling good about the platform and the way it is showing us just how valuable our editorial content is to our audience.” Advance Local is also a finalist in the Digiday Media Awards, in the category of Best Subscription or Membership Product, for their work using Sophi Content Paywall Engine. “Advance Local is an incredibly innovative organization that we’ve watched push the boundaries and we’re very excited to be working with them,” said Mike O’Neill, Co-Founder and CEO of Sophi.io. “We’re seeing great value come from the content paywall they’ve implemented and we’re excited to introduce some other cutting edge technology into this very strong brand.”
Advance Local was nominated as a finalist in the 2022 Digiday Media Awards’ Best Subscription or Membership Product category due to their success with Sophi Content Paywall Engine. Advance Local is one of the largest media groups in the United States. They operate 10 leading news and information organizations and reach 55 million people monthly across multiple platforms with their high-quality journalism. They are dedicated to unrivaled local journalism that improves the lives of millions of people. With a passion for innovation, Advance Local wanted to see how far they could go by introducing artificial intelligence into their newsroom. They started using Sophi Content Paywall Engine on one of their largest sites, cleveland.com. The technology uses advanced natural language processing to analyze every piece of content and select which articles to put behind a paywall. It picks only those articles where the subscription revenue opportunity outweighs the advertising revenue forgone. An experiment was setup so Advance could see how Sophi performed side by side with their existing paywall, and the results confirmed they’d made the right decision. Sophi generated a more than 40% increase in subscribers, and uncovered pockets of content that their editors didn’t anticipate would generate subscriptions. “We wanted to see how much farther Sophi could take us, so we tested Sophi Content Paywall on one of our largest sites. The results were transformative. We were hoping for a 10% lift in conversion rate and Sophi delivered four times that result. We’re continuing to roll out Sophi solutions across more of our sites as we speak.” - Neil Katz, Chief Customer Officer, Advance Local. See the complete list of Digiday finalists here.