The top story in my media business newsletter today definitely challenges conventional wisdom. Trevor Kaufman, the CEO of paid content platform Piano, says that most people believe that when you launch a paid content strategy that you grow at first but then plateau as you convert the core of your addressable market. I have to admit that from most of the examples that I have seen and even some media properties that I have managed that this is the case.
“After all, once you convert the converted, who is left?” he asks rhetorically. He goes on to challenge that view and says that Piano is finding that those publishers that invest in working their conversion funnel get better at converting.
We took a random sampling of our customers that have been in business between four and nine quarters, comparing their first two quarters with their last two. We found those with just a year behind them experienced increases of up to 50% in their average number of new monthly subscribers. And for those with nine quarters behind them, growth rates reached more than 2000% on average.
Attention, investment in digital subscriptions results in 2000% growth, Trevor Kaufman, INMA
Conversely, those clients who didn’t work it, didn’t invest, didn’t learn not only plateaued but declined. And I think Kaufman points out another key difference: The companies that invested and excelled changed their business, just like the New York Times has, to subscription-focused businesses.
There is a lot about paid content in today’s newsletter including an updated overview of pay models for online news by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
Let me know if there are any stories that you’d like to see in the newsletter. I’m @kevglobal on Twitter.