Sophi’s Sonali Verma was interviewed by IAB Canada about how Sophi’s game changing technology is curating digital content and getting the right message in front of the right person. Here’s a preview of the article: “IABC: Looking forward, how might Sophi evolve in the coming years? What kind of role will it play when it comes to the new forms of addressing audiences? Sonali Verma: Sophi’s mandate is to solve the worst problems in the publishing business including the two most popular: We have discovered that the decision-making engine...” Read the full interview here.
Press Gazette recapped the publisher revenue strategies panel discussion Sophi’s Gabe Gonda participated in at The Future of Media Technology (FOMT) conference. Here’s a glimpse: “Gabe Gonda, VP of the Globe and Mail’s machine-learning start-up Sophi.io, said the Canadian newspaper’s revenue was split by 70/30 towards advertising ten years ago but has now flipped it to 65/35 user revenue. This was done, he said, by creating Sophi.io and allowing it to recognise – in a similar way to that division between Times and Sun readers – those who are “time poor and cash rich” with a “high propensity” to pay versus those who should be allowed to “ride for free” and help generate more advertising revenue. “The beauty of a dynamic paywall is it optimises for both segments,” he said.” Read the full article here.
Eidosmedia, a developer of digital publishing solutions for leading news-media groups worldwide, has partnered with Sophi.io, an AI-powered automation, optimization and prediction platform developed by The Globe and Mail, to bring seamless print laydown automation to Eidosmedia customers. The solution brings the entire print page layout process down from hours to just minutes, without the use of templates. Publishers can dramatically improve productivity and cut costs, all within the Méthode platform they currently use. “The complexity of print page layouts has until now defied the easy automation that speeds the publishing of online formats,” said Marco Cetola, Eidosmedia Sales and Partner Program Director. “For our customers, especially large regional groups and national titles, print editions continue to be a major source of revenue. There’s intense interest in ways to cut production times and costs in this important publishing channel.” “The fit between our print edition building routines and Sophi’s AI engine turned out to be very good,” said Marco. “We were quickly able to start training the pagination model on existing layouts, and we had the first results in a matter of days”. “The productivity boost obtained is exceptional,” said Marco, “especially for daily publications where the page-design operation is usually running against the clock.” In fact, a typical 32-page print edition can be paginated in minutes compared to several hours for a manual operation. Sophi-powered print automation is different than other print production solutions in that it is completely template-free. It uses smart AI to ensure that a publisher’s printed pages look and feel as though they were produced by experienced editors and page designers. Each page is designed from scratch following each individual brand’s design vocabulary. The final output is a print-ready PDF or InDesign file that’s ready in minutes. Among those who stand to benefit from the new technology are page designers themselves. Page designers have been under pressure for some time to increase their productivity as publishers try to cut costs. With fewer hands to lay out growing numbers of pages, the designer’s job has in many cases become a stressful race against time. The automation engine will take routine tasks off their hands so they can devote more time to the front pages, features and special layouts where their creativity can really add value. “Page automation is the greatest innovation in the publishing industry since the personal computer replaced typewriters,” said Marco. Gabe Gonda, VP at Sophi.io, commented: “Sophi is delighted to be entering a partnership with Eidosmedia to deliver our print automation technology through the Méthode platform. Eidosmedia is a first-class CMS vendor with deep knowledge of its clients’ evolving needs. This partnership will help deliver a unique and high-value solution to some of the best newspaper publishers in the world.” About Eidosmedia Eidosmedia (www.eidosmedia.com) is a global leader in content management and digital publishing. Eidosmedia solutions are used by news-media organizations throughout the world to create and deliver portfolios of news products ranging from advanced digital formats to traditional newspapers and magazines. About Sophi Inc. 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.
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% lift 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.