Clients & Cases

Learn from others' experience

Best practices evolve constantly and no two markets are alike, but that's no reason to keep reinventing the wheel, or in this case; your digital publishing strategy, from scratch. Take a look at how some of Europe's most interesting media houses succeed with their digital strategy. 

Cases

Case / August 2018

Digital archive: The key to Folketidende's digital transformation

More newspapers choose to have their entire backlist of previous editions digitalized and distributed through their ePaper solution. A digital archive is indeed a large investment, but according to Danish news group...

More newspapers choose to have their entire backlist of previous editions digitalized and distributed through their ePaper solution. A digital archive is indeed a large investment, but according to Danish news group Folketidende Gruppen it’s worth every penny.

As a step in a major overhaul back in late 2016, Folketidende Gruppen launched a digital archive with all previous editions of their primary newspaper “Folketidende” - dating back to the newspaper’s foundation in 1873. At the same time, they dropped the print-only subscription and converted this into an “all inclusive”-subscription with access to the ePaper and thereby the archive.

"The digital archive was and is an important tool in our digital strategy. The implementation was the first step of our digital transformation as it was a good opportunity to emphasize the value of our ePaper,” says Michael M. Benzon, Online and Digital Manager at Folketidende Gruppen.

A great investment
Folketidende is a rather small newspaper on a European scale w
ith 11.000 subscribers and an estimated 33.000 readers according to the latest Kantar Gallup figures. So, one would think that digitalizing nearly 150 years of work would be too big an investment. But Michael M. Benzon assures that it's far from the case. 

“We saw it as an investment in our readers and we were hoping that it would result in increased revenues in the long run. Our readers are in the high end of the age scale, so a searchable archive dating back to 1873 was very appealing to them,” he explains. 

“Half a year after the launch, we increased the subscription prices with the biggest amount to date - at a time where we wouldn’t normally be making price adjustments. Despite of this, we experienced the fewest number of terminations ever. So, the big effort and investment around the launch really paid off."

Folketidende experienced a tremendous impact following the launch of their digital archive. But they've also put many resources into it to create awareness about the product.

“We promoted the archive, informed the print subscribers about the ePaper and used all of our own channels to tell about the archive. We made features with local celebrities, e.g. with an athlete who made a big result in the ‘70s and linked it to the paper from that specific day. We invited our subscribers to workshops at our three editorial offices where we would tell about the archive and how to use it while they enjoyed a cup of coffee, a beer or a soda. So, we invested quite a lot in our readers, and I believe that our consistent focus on the ePaper was the primary cause to why the readers chose not to quit," tells Michael M. Benzon.

“We experienced a doubling of pretty much everything. More people downloaded our app, we onboarded more readers and our page views went up. We received an overwhelmingly positive feedback on our workshops, and we can see that the archive is being used extensively." 

Just go for it!
Michael M. Benzon is not hesitant to recommend a digital archive to other media groups who're looking for a way to revitalize their old content. 

"My best advice to everyone who’re considering getting a digital archive is just go for it!” he says.

“The archive launch has really emphasized the value of our ePaper. We’ve obtained more subscribers, and our phoners now have more good arguments when trying to sell our product. But the archive also has great value internally because our writers use it to find old articles etc. So, there’s an economical saving as well because we no longer need to have archives two places - it's all gathered in our ePaper." 

 

Want a digital archive?
If you want to learn more about digital archives, how your old print papers are digitalized and how it's implemented in your ePaper, then get in touch with your Visiolink contact. They'll be happy to answer your questions. Also, make sure you get a copy of our Archive Report. It can we downloaded by clicking below.

 New Call-to-action

Case / April 2018

Case: Learn how reader surveys improve your ePaper

Each year since 2015, Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet has been doing surveys among the readers of their ePaper. They've made Visiolink responsible for conducting the surveys, so to learn more about their motivation...

Each year since 2015, Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet has been doing surveys among the readers of their ePaper. They've made Visiolink responsible for conducting the surveys, so to learn more about their motivation for doing so, we’ve talked to Thomas Svensson, Marketing Manager at Ekstra Bladet.

“Basically, it’s just very nice and convenient,” Thomas Svensson begins.

“But it’s also a matter of credibility as Visiolink possess a lot of industry insights. So, they know which questions to ask and how to set it up,” he explains.

“Obviously, we could also be conducting surveys ourselves and track certain things e.g. which device are most commonly used etc. But this type of reader survey provides a very good overview of how our ePaper is performing ,” he states. 

In other words, the reader surveys enable Ekstra Bladet to explore their readers and measure their ePaper's performance. But since Visiolink also conduct reader surveys for numerous other European titles, Ekstra Bladet and their industry peers also get a common basis for comparison for the ePaper that enable them to benchmark against the industry.

Important development tool
Previous results from the reader surveys found its way to the management of Ekstra Bladet where it has been used for development purposes. Thomas Svensson explains that their ePaper solution has been modified solely on the user feedback collected from the reader survey. 

“Additional sports issues, crosswords and local newspapers have all been implemented in our ePaper solution because we could see from the reader survey that this was something the readers wanted,” Thomas Svensson explicates.

VIDEO: Thomas Svensson, Marketing Manager at Ekstra Bladet, about their motivation for conducting reader surveys. 
Note: Apologies for the poor audio quality. The video is subtitled in both English and German.

Thomas Svensson emphasizes that the value they gain from the reader survey exceeds the resources they put into it. Especially as the years go by. 

“The first year was mostly to get a sense of how our ePaper was performing, but the year after that we were able to benchmark against ourselves. This has been an eye opener,” he states and elaborates: 

“It’s this kind of continuity that makes it really convenient. If we were to do it ourselves, there probably wouldn’t be the same stringency. By outsourcing it to Visiolink, we’re kind of forced into a framework. This way we can see some movements and get a good sense of which direction our ePaper is moving,“ Thomas Svensson explains.

Ekstra Bladet is going to run the reader survey later this spring. This will be the fourth consecutive year they put Visiolink in charge of conducting the survey.

How does it work?
The reader survey is displayed as a questionnaire interstitial in the ePaper. This ensures maximum exposure as every reader needs to decide whether or not they want to complete the survey. 

In order to get as many surveys completed as possible, we recommend that you offer a prize to a randomly selected respondent. This will increase the readers' motivation for completing the survey. 

The interstitial will run for a specific period of time. Afterwards, our Business Consulting team gather the results and summarize it in a report. This report will not only show your results, but also how you benchmark against other titles of similar type and size as yours.  

The results from all of the reader surveys Visiolink conduct on behalf our customers also form the basis for our annual European ePaper Benchmark Report. 

Want us to conduct your reader survey?
If you want to know more about the reader survey and how to arrange it, please contact your Key Account Manager. They’ll be happy to tell you more about the costs and what you need to provide in order for us to conduct the reader survey on your behalf. 
You can also find more information about the reader survey by clicking the picture below.

visiolink epaper reader survey

Case / March 2018

Nordwest-Zeitung attracts ePaper subscribers with irresistible offers

German newspaper Nordwest-Zeitung (NWZ) has a very popular ePaper, and they have obtained a subscriber base that exceeds even their own expectations. Through an innovative yet customer-centric approach they've...

German newspaper Nordwest-Zeitung (NWZ) has a very popular ePaper, and they have obtained a subscriber base that exceeds even their own expectations. Through an innovative yet customer-centric approach they've succeeded in accustoming their readers to the ePaper. 

With 15.000 ePaper subscriptions, the digital edition accounts for nearly 14 percent of NWZ’s total subscriber base. In order to reach this level, the Oldenburg based newspaper took creative measures. They opened a store for the sole purpose of selling their digital products, and half of the ePaper subscribers were onboarded through a “Bundle offer” which is basically an alternative installment plan for a tablet. 

“A few years ago, we opened the NWZ Media Store in the Oldenburg City Center. In the store, specially trained people from our company could explain potential customers the benefits of choosing a bundle offer. And all the activities in the store were concentrated on selling the digital version. So that’s a big factor in the success we’re experiencing” says Dirk Poelmann, Senior Product Manager at NWZ.

The NWZ Media Store is closed today, but all the store activities have now been moved to the NWZ headquarters. So, customers can still go there if they want to get the tablet bundle, need technical support etc. Just as if it was a regular store.

 

nwz_media_store_oldenburg.png

NWS Media Store (picture) opened in October, 2012, but closed down after two years, when the German newspaper decided to move the store activities to their headquarters in Oldenburg.

 

Depending on which device the customer wants, down payment and additional installments may apply to the bundle offers. But they all come with a subscription for the NWZ ePaper with an extended binding period of two years.

If you look at how we sell our ePaper as an addition to the tablet, big part of it is to make our customers loyal. A regular digital subscription often just has a binding period of one to three months, but the bundle offers give us extra time to make the readers more loyal and accustomed to the ePaper and other services,” he explains. 

Read more: Volksstimme on new iOS-app: Readers are in for a treat!

Big focus on the ePaper
The influx of new ePaper subscribers is a very important factor to NWZ’s overall business strategy, Dirk Poelmann says.

“Print sales are declining and the ePaper is one important part of keeping our subscriber level high and to work against lower subscriber rates." 

And the increased focus on the ePaper extends throughout the organization.

“We have integrated the ePaper in all of our sales, service and communication activities. So, it’s part of most of our campaigns. For instance, we have our Holiday Service which means that if you are a print subscriber and go on vacation, you can say: don’t send me the printed paper but give me access to the ePaper instead,” he says and continues:

“Every service center agent in our company is able to solve first level technical problems the client might have, so there’s rarely any need to connect them to two or three other people in the house that might have an answer. Every promoter on the street can explain the product in detail. We have bundles and we offer help to our elderly clients to train them in using tablets." 

Read more: Experience the new sh:z app in action

More readers prefer the ePaper
The NWZ ePaper receives great reviews on App Store and Google Play, and according to Dirk Poelmann this has a lot to do with the fact that NWZ does a lot to please their subscribers and help them get the most out of their solution. And they gradually try to make all their subscribers accustomed to using the ePaper by including it in their various subscriptions.

“We've started offering free access to online services as well if you’re an ePaper subscriber. Or if you’re a print subscriber, then we’ll offer them an ePaper account for a different local edition, so we try to bundle the access to the ePaper with access to other services. Hopefully that will make them even more loyal,” he reflects. 

“We have three branches – print, web and ePaper - and the latter is getting more and more important. Many print readers are switching to the ePaper because it’s easier to use, more on time, and, at the same time, it’s less expensive. Our ePaper costs about 27 euro and in comparison, it’s about 8-10 euros more if you want the printed newspaper delivered to your home depending on where you live.”

The Nordwest-Zeitung ePaper includes seven local editions and a digital archive with issues dating back to April, 1946 where the German newspaper was established.  

epaper benchmark report download pdf

Case / June 2016

Turn your digital archive into a goldmine

Most newspapers date back tens, if not hundreds, of years. Extensive archives date back to first editions, the last words of a loved editor, some of mankind's darkest days and brightest moments. A lot of this history...

Most newspapers date back tens, if not hundreds, of years. Extensive archives date back to first editions, the last words of a loved editor, some of mankind's darkest days and brightest moments. A lot of this history is hidden in dark basement archives, where it only comes out on request by historians or other research scientists.

Basically the archives have no value until someone reaches in to them, views the microfilms or gently turns the century-old pages in their hunt for source material. But what if newspaper archives were instantly accessible and searchable? What if anyone could tap into the riches of history and discover stories and events as seen by those who actually witnessed them?

Ingenioren_07_1892.png

Building digital archives seems like a no-brainer. Scan the old paper editions or microfilms, store them on a webserver, and boom! History for everyone. In reality it's slightly more complex but you get the idea. The real question is; what's in it for the publishers? Their frequent readers get access to an abundance of historic content, but where is the business model?

Keepers of Cultural Heritage

Ingeniøren (The Engineer), a Danish technical industry newspaper, digitized their archives with more than a hundred years of technical journalism and history. The project was partly crowdfunded by readers, and Ingeniøren has no economic interest in the now public archive. That's not to say that the past is worthless.

Instant access to archived editions of newspapers allows the use of historic knowledge in new journalism, giving journalists previously unimaginable access to source material.

Newspapers are high credibility witnesses to the evolution of society and culture. By embracing that past, they are able to create strong ties to both present and future readers. But is that enough to make extensive archiving valuable to the publisher? And would readers be willing to pay for archive access?

What do you think? Could the past be part of the newspaper business model of tomorrow?

Get your own copy of the latest report on archive solutions with data based insights on:

  • How important an archive is to your readers
  • How you digitize your archive 
  • The benefits digital archives give other media houses: Case studies with Flensburg Avis and Ingeniøren

Download archive report
 

Case / January 2016

Optimize reader engagement with a push

It is almost seven years since Apple first introduced the push notification to the market with its Apple Push Notification Service (APNs). Since then, the communicative possibilities associated with this feature has...

It is almost seven years since Apple first introduced the push notification to the market with its Apple Push Notification Service (APNs). Since then, the communicative possibilities associated with this feature has continued to evolve.

The feature is now available for all major platforms and multiple devices, such as laptops, smart watches, tablets and mobile phones. Today, you have the ability to send images and interactive buttons, which all contribute to enriching the user experience and increase user engagement. As such, Push Notifications has proven to be an effective tool to achieve user retention and increase the usage of apps. As you will see in this case from Ekstra Bladet, one of the largest Danish newspapers, Push Notifications hold many great opportunities for the media industry - if you do it right!

optimizing user engagement with push notificaitons

The effects of Push Notifications - a brief walkthrough

We have compared various data from Ekstra Bladets ePaper, eBladet, before and after implementing a Push Notification campaign. This was to investigate the relationship between Push Notifications and the number of downloads. The effect of the Push Notification is clear. Let’s have a closer look at some of the details.

If we look at the data from the Push Notification campaign, there is an overall increase in the number of downloads of 9,2%. While this is pretty impressive, a greater effect appears if we isolate the period just after the notification is pushed. In the first hour after the Push Notification is sent there is a total increase in downloads of 22,7%. This means that a brief message sent to your readers can potentially increase readership by more than a fifth.
And that’s not all. If we compare the data from weekdays with the data from weekend days, there is a slightly greater impact of the Push Notification in the weekend days. Thus, it is important to send Push Notifications for weekend publications as well.

eBladet sends two Push Notifications pr. day – one at 06:00 AM and the other at 09:00 AM.
The first Push Notification (06:00 AM) had a greater impact on the number of downloads than the second (09:00 AM). Downloads increase up to 28,5% after the first Push Notification is sent, whereas the second only caused an increase of 11,1%. This could indicate that the first Push Notification has a greater impact on the number of downloads, than the second. However, it is important to note that the timing of the two Push Notifications could play a significant role.

Furthermore, the two Push Notifications were sent out with only a few hours in between – this could also influence the effect of the second Push Notification and requires proper A/B testing to ensure the most optimal outcome.

Thomas_Svensson_Ekstra_Bladet.jpg

“We have this idea of a use pattern, a hypothesis we would like to test, where users focus mainly on the shorter stories together with the front bearing stories in the morning and tune in on a more extensive article later in the day – an article may be too time consuming for the morning but more readable during lunch,” says Thomas Svensson, Marketing Manager at Ekstra Bladet.

The less significant effect of the second Push Notification led Thomas Svensson to take action and move the second Push Notification from 09:00 AM to 11:00 AM. As he explains, the action is based on a hypothesis that more time-consuming articles were more likely to be read during lunch break or later in the afternoon.

optimizing_with_push_notifications_in_ePapers_table.png

*the rest of the analysis builds on data from this time interval

Focus on the first hour after sending the Push Noficiation

As illustrated above, the effect of the Push Notification is especially great in the first hour after the Push Notifications were sent. Therefore, this particular timeframe is interesting to explore further.

If we look at the data from this specific timeframe and distinguish between weekdays and weekend days, the span is even more substantial. The effect one hour after the Push Notifications are sent, increases on weekdays to 20,6%, where weekend days experience an increase of 27%. This underpins the importance of using Push Notifications in the weekends as well.

The difference is illustrated in the graphs below. The data is converted to indexes where the reference points are set to the periods before the Push Notification campaign, and hence constitutes index 100.

 

Weekdays

optimizing_with_push_notifications_in_ePapers_1.png
⇒ Increase 20,8 %
 

Weekends

optimizing_with_push_notifications_in_ePapers_2.png
⇒ Increase 27 %

 

Key takeaways

By implementing Push Notifications, the number of downloads rose significantly – especially in the first hour after sending the Push Notification.

The fact that the first Push Notification (06:00 AM) had greater impact on the number of downloads than the second Push Notification (09:00 AM), indicates that the timing of the Push Notification is important – both in terms of the time of day, but also in terms of the timing of the Push Notifications in relation to each other.

In general, analytics and measurements are crucial tools for an app’s performance and success. Analytics provide the necessary data to evaluate whether a campaign works satisfactorily or not. For any Push Notification campaign, it is essential that both the timing and the value of the concerned messages are right, in order for them to drive action.

As an example, when Ekstra Bladet sends out Push Notifications, much of the value is attributed to the users’ experience of product delivery. The need for this delivery experience already had Ekstra Bladet’s attention because of its desktop users. Here, users receive an email and as Thomas Svensson explains: “users see this as product delivery, and simply calls in if the mail is not delivered, even if the newspaper is actually delivered. If the mail is not received, the newspaper is not delivered”. This exact experience is what Ekstra Bladet wants to transfer to its app.

Furthermore, Thomas Svensson believes in a higher perceived value by users when the reading increases. As he argues: “when paying for a product, a greater satisfaction is experienced when the product is actually being used”. For this reason, he is also looking into how Ekstra Bladet can engage users in the evening, for instance with TV, crossword puzzles or other such features – even though these are offered for free, they enhance the perceived value by engaging users.

The results show that any messaging strategy or tactic needs to be measured and analysed throughout an iterative testing process to reach the highest potential, no matter if the goal is to gain new users, to properly on-board users or to reduce user churn rates. To sum up, this is what you can do to benefit from using Push Notifications:

  • Use the right timing
  • Optimize the value
  • Analyse and measure
Case / December 2015

Grow with a hundred digital subscribers a day

The newspaper business is constantly changing. More media companies are considering new strategies to keep up with an industry in which readers are moving away from printed newspapers and are embracing new,...

The newspaper business is constantly changing. More media companies are considering new strategies to keep up with an industry in which readers are moving away from printed newspapers and are embracing new, easy-to-access digital versions.

This development means that media houses are looking for new solutions to help them gain more readers and avoid losing existing readers.

How can you increase the chances of making your ePaper a success? One publisher chose to differentiate pricing, which proved to be an effective strategy for generating more readers. Let’s take a look at the case in question.

Dagbladet_case.jpg

100 NEW DIGITAL NEWSPAPER SUBSCRIBERS EACH DAY

In March 2013, the Norwegian publisher Dagbladet began its digital journey by launching the ePaper ‘Dagbladet Pluss’. ‘Dagbladet Pluss’ is a complete digital version of the publisher’s printed newspaper. ‘Dagbladet Pluss’ subscribers get the ePaper, a printed version of the paper every Saturday and stories that other readers cannot find anywhere else. The ePaper is available on PCs, tablets and smartphones, and subscribers can read it anywhere, at any time and as much as the subscriber wants. Before launching the ePaper, Dagbladet was a single-copy-sale newspaper, and it didn’t have any experience with handling subscribers.

‘Dagbladet Pluss’ became a reality after the company realised something had to be done to keep up with the rapid development publishers are facing today. Like many other media houses, Dagbladet experienced a decline in sales and chose to take action.

The results of its efforts were significant. In one year, Dagbladet registered more than 23,700 new subscribers. Since the launch of their ePaper in March 2013, Dagbladet has registered 78,000 new subscribers, and the company currently has over 22,000 paying subscribers. However, Dagbladet experienced more than an immediate increase in the number of subscribers. Today, over 100 new subscribers join every day on average. Since January 2015, the number of paying subscribers has increased by 125%. 

LOWER THE PRICE OF YOUR EPAPER

What did Dagbladet do to get over 100 new digital newspaper subscribers for its ePaper every day?

The company implemented a new price policy. The publisher chose to make its ePaper available for 59 NOK per month (6,31 EUR). To raise interest, Dagbladet even ran a price campaign in which subscribers could access ‘Dagbladet Pluss’ for 6,31 EUR for the first three months. If you do the math, this means that subscribers could buy the ePaper for only 0,05 EUR in those three months, while the printed version costs 2,67 EUR. This 45-day campaign gave the publisher 6,000 new full-year subscribers.

Considering the numbers, this new strategy has proven to be a huge and highly important success for Dagbladet.

‘A new strategy is essential for us, especially when we know how the development in other European countries has been. Newspaper stands in shops are disappearing, and we fear that the same will happen in Norway. In that case, our most important sales channel and contact surface are gone’, says Lene Hordvik, Digital Manager at Dagbladet.

lene hordvik_Dagbladet.jpg
Lene Hordvik, Digital Manager at Dagbladet. 

GET TO KNOW YOUR READERS

In addition to the new price policy, Dagbladet has maintained a strong focus on gaining qualified knowledge about its readers and their behaviour tendencies, which is vital for digital success:

‘We realised that detailed knowledge about our readers’ habits has become very important for us if we want to succeed digitally. In the next six months, we will therefore establish a new platform which makes it possible for every reader to tailor the offer’, Hordvik says.

Obtaining knowledge about reader habits can be very useful for media houses as they attempt to ensure future success. Visiolab works with strategic business intelligence in the media industry and makes surveys that cover a number of important issues. For example, Visiolab found that readers prefer the ePaper to be released the evening before the printed newspaper is available and that readers prefer the portrait orientation. Another interesting observation is that making content available on desktops, phones and tablets seems to be a winning combination. Knowledge such as this can play a significant role as media houses develop mobile news content strategies because it clarifies readers’ preferences for news content.

‘In order to be an important part of readers’ everyday life, we need to have detailed information about their reading patterns. However, this has to happen without our readers noticing it. You can call it a sophisticated form of surveillance’, Lene Hordvik says.

THREE INITIATIVES THAT GOT DAGBLADET 100 NEW SUBSCRIBERS EACH DAY

Let’s take a look at the elements that got Dagbladet 100 new digital newspaper subscribers each day:

  • Aggressive pricing strategy
  • Knowing readers' preferences
  • Continuously adapting its strategy to fulfil readers' wants and needs 

 

 

Case / June 2015

The importance of availability

Every night we process more than 1.000 digital publications automatically at Visiolink. For whatever reason, we sometimes receive corrupt data in the form of missing pages or file name errors. When that happens, the...

Every night we process more than 1.000 digital publications automatically at Visiolink. For whatever reason, we sometimes receive corrupt data in the form of missing pages or file name errors. When that happens, the processing fails and the e-paper does not meet the deadline – a critical error that many media houses are spending large amounts on surveillance to avoid.

Availability

Publication Availability Watch

For newspapers and magazines, unavailable content can have very costly consequences, and is simply not an option. Therefore Visiolink has developed Publication Availability Watch as an add-on service, and has been offering around-the-clock protection against the problem since November 2014.

“With Publication Availability Watch we have centralised the surveillance of 112 individual titles so far, saving clients’ resources, and catching mistakes before they happen.” Says Agnethe Løkke Madsen, head of Customer Care at Visiolink. “Availability is as important to Visiolink as it is to our clients and we want to be able to make sure that every deadline is met.”

In March 2015 the surveillance team proactively caught 32 publications that had missing pages. They were able to contact the newspapers, which then corrected the mistakes, and together we ensured that every publication hit the digital shelves on time.

Jydske Vestkysten

Since they were spending a lot of resources on surveillance, Jydske Vestkysten, a local Danish newspaper with more than nine daily publications, 365 days a year, asked us for a service that could ensure timely digital publication.

It is vital that the newspaper is always available to our readers.” Says Per Gylling from Jysk Fynske Medier. “Since most people read their newspaper in the morning, it is simply not acceptable if the e-paper is late, or contains blank pages.”

Before Publication Availability Watch, it was often the e-paper readers that alerted the newspaper of mistakes in publications. However, that is no longer an issue since any mistakes are caught before the deadline, and the inconvenience never reaches the reader.

Since Visiolink started the service, we have been working in close collaboration with our clients to develop and ensure stability in our service, and today we have an average customer satisfaction rate of 98%.

Publication Availability Watch is part of 24/7 Premium, which also covers 24/7 Customer Care.

If this article has sparked your interest, please don’t hesitate to contact Agnethe Løkke Madsen at alm@visiolink.com

*Jydske Vestkysten is published by Jysk Fynske Medier.

Case / May 2015

Inspiration from a hotel in Norway

This case is a description of a real-life experience of a very nice approach to including e-papers in a promotional campaign, connected to an everyday situation. It is a setting that happens at hotels all over the...

This case is a description of a real-life experience of a very nice approach to including e-papers in a promotional campaign, connected to an everyday situation. It is a setting that happens at hotels all over the world when a hotel guest is checking out.

We centre ourselves in the capital of Norway; Oslo. I am standing at the check-out desk to finalise the payment, and this procedure ends with the common question from me: “Could you please order a taxi?”

At most hotels, the personnel will happily get the taxi ordered, but not at this particular hotel in Oslo. Not because of unkindness, but instead I am now told, that I can quickly order the taxi myself at the iPad standing on the desk just a couple of metres from us.

No problem, I like technology to help me, so I order the taxi from the iPad and key in my mobile phone number when requested. Immediately after I receive this SMS:

IMG_7033-1

Here is the interesting part: along with the taxi information, the text-message includes information that I can access today’s business e-paper Dagens Næringsliv for free! Now I am swiftly offered a free newspaper to read while I am in the taxi – or later in the day for that matter.

I just click the link to either the Apple or Google app store and download the app.

IMG_7037

From the app, I can now quickly key in the voucher code from the SMS.

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Voila! I now have access to today’s paper directly on my smartphone or tablet.

IMG_7041

This is a well thought-out process of integrating voucher codes into a daily life situation and an excellent way to make your audience interested in your digital newspaper offerings.

*Dagens Næringsliv is a Norwegian newspaper specialising in business news. You can download the DN Apple app here or the Google app here These apps are developed in collaboration between DN and Visiolink.

Case / May 2015

Volksstimme goes live with Dynamic

Previously on the blog, we announced a long list of graphic and layout improvements to DYNAMIC. Magdeburger Verlags- und Druckhaus, a German media company based in the city of Magdeburg, publishes 18 different local...

Previously on the blog, we announced a long list of graphic and layout improvements to DYNAMIC. Magdeburger Verlags- und Druckhaus, a German media company based in the city of Magdeburg, publishes 18 different local editions of its Volksstimme newspaper, and is the first to have implemented the new DYNAMIC in the company's iOS app Volksstimme digital.

Normen Günzroth, the company's online coordinator, had this to say about the product:

"DYNAMIC gives readers a smooth-running transition from the classic newspaper layout to the device-optimised display, without having to compromise on content, and it's easy for the reader to navigate between teasers and full articles."

We have compiled a series of screen shots from the Volksstimme digital app that show the new design on both iPad and iPhone. 

volksstimme-authentic-dynamic-visiolink-1-600

 

volksstimme-authentic-dynamic-visiolink-2-600

We have worked hard to come up with a design that makes use of graphic effects from the printed newspaper, so that the reader feels confident that the newspaper's content is the same regardless of whether it is read in the replica version, in print or in DYNAMIC.

As experts in digital replica products, it is not our task to deliver radically groundbreaking alternatives to the printed newspaper. Instead, our job is to innovate the product itself so that new readers are gradually enticed, while existing readers do not lose interest. We still believe that the newspaper, in its traditional form, is a strong product with healthy roots and proud traditions.

The DYNAMIC display format should therefore be seen as a reinterpretation of the newspaper's premises onto digital platforms, as well as a supplement to the replica edition ‒ developed with respect for the values that characterise the printed newspaper.

volksstimme-authentic-dynamic-visiolink-3-600

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The market for digital solutions for and from the print media industry is immense, and DYNAMIC is an attempt at consolidating a hybrid format that combines the best from the printed newspaper and the digital platforms. We believe that DYNAMIC, with its ability to maintain the prioritisation of the newspaper's content and its clear connection to the newspaper's physical version, is a great attempt at creating a solid hybrid format on the content's terms.

As a medium, the history of the printed newspaper goes back 250 years, and the risk of disregarding the newspaper's social, institutional and historical significance is imminent if one simply makes a clean cut and entirely removes the content from the context of the paper. However, we also believe that the replica format faces challenges on smaller screen sizes, and that it does not support the current trend of smaller newspaper bites taken by users on the go or during small breaks throughout the day.

By providing quick access to an overview of the newspaper's articles, and to the articles themselves in a reader-friendly format, DYNAMIC has optimised the newspaper's content for 'snack news' situations. Meanwhile, of course, readers still have the option of enjoying longer articles.

This guest blog post is written by Wim Danhof from Mediafacts in the Netherlands.

“Never opt for an all-singing, all-dancing app if your public is not the least bit interested in it. Instead, find out what your customers want today." That was the core message from Peter Idema in his presentation about NDC Mediagroep’s digital strategy at the Mediafacts National Publishing Day on 26 November.

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Peter Idema, NDC Mediagroep

Peter Idema sounded a note that is not heard frequently, but one that makes sense. In his presentation about digital developments at NDC Mediagroep, the publisher of the Dagblad van het Noorden and the Leeuwarder Courant, among other newspapers. Where prophets such as Juan Senor were proclaiming that a replica of the printed newspaper on a tablet is a mistake, NDC has just moved back to this approach.

Idema explained how NDC Mediagroep had developed a tablet-optimized version of the paper soon after the launch of the iPad, so a newspaper with a different design, specifically for the tablet. In the presentation, he outlined two reasons why the progressive tablet newspaper was not a success:

The wrong pricing model

"First of all the pricing was wrong: subscribers to the newspaper could also read the paper on their tablet for €1 extra per month. That did not work. Subscribers to the tablet paper alone had to pay €145. Only a very few people went for that option.

We then did some research about who did not download the newspaper at all or only downloaded it. That revealed two things. People expected a tablet newspaper always to be on, to have content that is continuously updated, and that during the day new content would keep appearing. That was not the case."

“A different group just wanted to read the paper they knew on the tablet. Many people had problems, for example with navigation through the tablet newspaper. People found it hard (according to the editors) to be able to distinguish the most important news. Moreover, because of the new structure, many people did not know when they had read the whole paper.”

NDC-replica-visiolink

So a tablet version 2.0 of the Leeuwarder Courant and the Dagblad van het Noorden in fact went back to a kind of 1.0 version: just a replica of the physical paper, obviously with the option of some digital extras such as video and web links being added. The Danish company Visiolink was chosen as software partner, and they delivered the platform on the agreed date for a fixed price, in the summer holidays of 2013.

For subscribers to the printed paper, the ePaper is now available free of charge, while those who subscribe only to the ePaper pay a lower price than the print subscribers. Each day, the ePaper is downloaded between 10,000 and 12,000 times, with a paid-for print run of approximately 120,000 for the Dagblad van het Noorden and 80,000 for the Leeuwarder Courant.

The previous all-singing, all-dancing app has, therefore, been replaced by an ePaper that, according to market research, is a better match right now to what the readers of Northern newspapers want.

Doing nothing is not an option

NDC Mediagroep checks diligently when and how web links and videos need to be added to the ePaper. In addition: relevance and the needs of the public they uncovered are now driving the process more than ever. A sobering lesson for a publisher in the sober northern area of the Netherlands.

Case / September 2014

A push for early release

Earlier in this blog, we described the effects of implementing an earlier release of the digital newspaper – to make it possible to receive the latest news the day before readers of the printed paper.

Earlier in this blog, we described the effects of implementing an earlier release of the digital newspaper – to make it possible to receive the latest news the day before readers of the printed paper.

However, there are benefits too for the printed newspaper of such an early release. These are now becoming apparent and are well-described in an article last month in the Norwegian journalist magazine “Journalisten”.

In the article, how the general earlier release of the newspaper can lead to reduced costs is described. One example is from the Nordlys newspaper where they finish the newspaper before 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Editor Anders Opdahl of Nordlys stated:

There is no reason to lay out the newspaper at night. It appears strange that we have not made this change before. It does not affect the quality at all. Rather, I think it will improve the quality of the newspaper when there are more people on the job as they finish the newspaper.

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Digital subscribers

Anders Opdahl is very happy with the changes. He believes that those changes are almost exclusively positive and is now focussing to digitise subscribers. Once you reach a critical mass, there is no longer a need for the paper desk at night. Then they will update the AUTHENTIC ePaper or publish updates as a separate night edition.

Once we have converted just under 17,500 to digital, we have reached the goal. We hope to achieve the goal during this year, reveals Opdahl to “Journalisten”. So, a general early release is not only a good service to the readers, but also good business for the media house. As Opdahl states:

Why in heaven's name did we not do this ten years ago?!

 

Case / September 2014

Ingeniørens digital magazine archive is live

Danish engineering magazine Ingeniøren has opened up access to more than 100, 000 pages of old and valuable content.

Danish engineering magazine Ingeniøren has opened up access to more than 100, 000 pages of old and valuable content.

Exactly 100,150 pages of technology and social history, contained in four engineering journals published from 1892 to 1940, are open for perusal. This constitutes the first phase of the digitization of approximately 300,000 pages of the magazine, the heritage of all engineers, Ingeniøren stated on their home page today. Access is free to all those who are interested.

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Free access to all

The move is very much the brainchild of former editor and current back page editor at Ingeniøren, Erik Lyngsø-Petersen. The works present a detailed record of Denmark's metamorphosis from a wholly agricultural to an increasingly industrialised society, and now everyone can search in the digital archive for terms and phrases in volumes from years past.

The impact of the decision has already proven significant in the first user tests of the archive. In an article in today's edition of Ingeniøren, Jan Pedersen from The Saxo Institute at the University of Copenhagen states:

I must say I am wildly impressed… The quality of the reproduction of the material is excellent. The pictures are clear and harmonious, the ability to search within results impressive, and there is even an option to convert the search result to PDF. You have made great material available via this initiative. 

You can read more on the background and financing of the project here.

The digitization has been carried out in collaboration with Visiolink. 

Now investigate this incredible resource yourself.

INGENIØREN ARCHIVE

Facts on the project

So far you will find these four periodicals in the archive:

  • Ingeniøren (1892–1940)
  • Tidsskrift for Ingeniør- & Bygningsvæsen (1906–1937)
  • Polyteknikeren/Polyteknisk Tidsskrift (1919–1928)
  • Tidsskrift for Elektro- og Maskinteknik (EMI) (1920–1935)
Case / July 2014

Go paperless for the holidays

During the 2015 Pentecost, we saw examples of digital holiday editions from media houses in both Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

During the 2015 Pentecost, we saw examples of digital holiday editions from media houses in both Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Politiken - Denmark

For the first time, Politiken produced the paper as a digital-only version for the Pentecost Monday. As Bo Lidegaard, Editor of Politiken, stated the day before:

"We usually do not produce a paper for the 2nd day of Pentecost, which - as far back as anyone can remember - has been among the four annual days where Politiken was not published.

This is not so this time. For the first time we produce a newspaper, published Monday in Pentecost. Certainly we have for years released politiken.dk every day and every hour throughout the year. But this time we publish the actual newspaper also on 2nd day of Pentecost."

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Aftenposten - Norway

The editor of Aftenposten, Espen Egil Hansen, tweeted this beautiful image to tell about their new Pentecost offer to the readers.

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(Twitter image courtesy of editor Espen Egil Hansen)

Svenska dagbladet - Sweden 

The National Day of Sweden is on the 6th of June and normally means no newspapers. But this year Svenska Dagbladet did a digital-only version.

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The front-page of the paper they day before, promoting next days digital-only edition.

- All three media houses use Visiolink services and products for the digital editions.

Case / September 2013

Schleswig's history open to the world

Flensborg Avis was founded in the aftermath of the 1864 War, when Denmark was forced to surrender to Prussia the regions of Holstein, Lauenburg and Schleswig. As a result, some 200,000 Danes came under German rule....

Flensborg Avis was founded in the aftermath of the 1864 War, when Denmark was forced to surrender to Prussia the regions of Holstein, Lauenburg and Schleswig. As a result, some 200,000 Danes came under German rule. One of them was teacher Gustav Johannsen, who went on to become the newspaper's founder and editor-in-chief and who, as a Dane, had been dismissed by the new Prussian school authority.

A heavy emphasis on information
All 400,000 pages of the newspaper's historical archives have been shipped to Switzerland, where they will be scanned and digitised one by one, so that as of next year, pupils, library visitors, historians and the newspaper's readers will be able to explore history on computers, smartphones and tablets.
"It is our intention to advance knowledge and awareness of the Danish minority in the region and its history. It is shocking how little people know about why the Danish minority in northern Germany exists in the first place. For this reason, we are attaching great importance to the informational component of the project. Digitisation of the archives will facilitate full-text search capability and the addition of photos, videos and sound clips to the historical archives to make them a digital multimedia platform well suited to teaching purposes," says Flensborg Avis CFO Thorsten Kjærsgaard.

Digital advantages for users
The Slesvigske Samling (the Schleswig Collection), an archive department at Denmark's Central Library for the Schleswig Region, is also playing an active role in the project. The collection consists of 50,000 books and assorted materials and was, like Flensborg Avis, founded by Gustav Johannsen to serve as a library for the Danish population in the then German Empire. The collection's manager, Jan P. Jessen, is already looking forward to being able to offer users a searchable digital newspaper archive.
"Digitisation will be a great advantage to users: they will no longer have to fuss with the unpopular microfiche rolls or bound annual volumes. The most obvious advantage, though, is the ability to search by keyword or topic, because it is impossible to know whether exactly what you are looking for is in a given newspaper or bound volume," says Jessen.

Worldwide access
Scanning the 400,000 newspaper pages will take until the end of the year, after which time Visiolink will prepare them for searching on the web, smartphones and tablets. The 140 years of Flensborg Avis editions constitute a unique historical collection that can be accessed by researchers, historians, librarians and, not least, teachers and pupils north and south of the German border.
"Flensborg Avis has been covering major decisive junctures in Danish history since 1869, and this coverage will soon be accessible worldwide. This may help to make Danes aware of the vital role the region has played in their country's history," adds Mr Jessen. 

The Danish parliament's South Schleswig Committee has provided a grant of DKK 1,850,000 for the scanning and digitisation of editions of the newspaper dating back as far as its foundation in 1869. The project has the backing of Flensborg Avis and two departments at the Danish Central Library for Southern Schleswig: the Studies Department and the Schleswig Collection. The sizeable collection of old newspaper editions was made available by the Schleswig Collection and the Flensborg City Archives.

Case / September 2013

Digital readers willing to pay for Folketidende

59 percent of subscribers with tablet access to Folketidende have opted to drop the printed edition, while 21 percent of subscribers say they prefer the ePaper, and just 10 percent have kept the printed edition as...

59 percent of subscribers with tablet access to Folketidende have opted to drop the printed edition, while 21 percent of subscribers say they prefer the ePaper, and just 10 percent have kept the printed edition as their media of preference. These are the results of a new user survey, which Folketidende undertook in collaboration with Visiolink among its paying tablet readers. 

Sensible pricing policy
The figures surprise Folketidende's online manager, Michael Mistarz Benzon.
"What is surprising is that there are so many – 59% – who read the newspaper on their tablet only. I believed that readers still preferred the printed edition. The survey also shows, however, that 43 percent of tablet readers rate the ePaper's value at between DKK 100 and 150 a month. This gives us an indication that our pricing policy for the digital paper is quite reasonable. We continue to experience a small rise in our digital subscriptions, which bears testimony to the fact that the digital edition has been well received by our readers," says Michael Mistarz Benzon.

Most readers on iPad
The study shows that it is primarily Apple users who read the newspaper on the tablet. Of these, 90 percent use an iPad, with Android devices only accounting for the other 10 percent.
"This is also rather surprising, as I was under the impression that many users had bought a cheaper Android tablet. This fits well, though, with the question of how willing users are to pay for content, as willingness is generally higher among iPad users. This is also clear if you look at our single issue sales via Apples App Store and Google Play,” says Michael Mistarz Benzon.
 
Information about the product
The study has been undertaken in collaboration with Visiolink, and builds upon the answers of 98 tablet readers, who were asked to complete a 15-point questionnaire. The results will be used by Folketidende in its ongoing strategic work with sales and marketing of the newspaper, both digital and print.
"Before the study, we had neither actual figures nor surveys of our users' behaviour concerning the digital paper. Nor did we have any information about how they felt about the product.
Surveys and statistics are of course the path to gaining more knowledge about a product, and this is what best allows us to function correctly in the high-pressure market we find ourselves in at the moment. With this survey, we wanted to gain a perspective of: What do users think about the product? Who are they and where are they located geographically? Is the price reasonable? How do they use the digital edition? The study provided us with an excellent picture – although we had expected more responses, than the 98 we received. Thus the basis for the report is not as solid, as it would be with larger surveys," says Michael Mistarz Benzon.

Present where the readers are
The study only questioned paying readers, as it is not possible to access the newspaper without buying it as a single issue or via a subscription. Folketidende's readers can choose between three different offers: A digital subscription, a subscription to the printed paper or a combined, total package. Subscribers of the printed paper can get a digital subscription for a special rate.
"We have chosen to offer three packages, as we believe our product gives high value, and we hope this strategy gives a signal of this. We believe that we are delivering quality content, and that there is value attached to allowing our users to access this content where and when they want and on their preferred platform. 
With the total package however, we also wish to give out a signal that we hold our existing newspaper subscribers in high regard, which is why we're allowing them to purchase the new digital product at a cheaper rate (DKK 300 for one year). We continue to strive to be the best news provider in our area, and we want to be there, where the readers are, which is why it was a natural step for us to publish on the mobile platforms," explains Michael Mistarz Benzon.

Sample from the survey:

When you read the ePaper on the tablet, which of these statements best describe the reasons why you opt to read the paper here? 

  • The ePaper is accessible no matter where I happen to be (87%)
  • A subscription for the ePaper is cheaper (29%)
  • I try to avoid the use of printed paper (19%) 
  • I like to read the paper before the printed edition hits the streets (14%)


In your opinion, which of the following makes an ePaper worth paying for? 

  • It is easy to navigate around in the ePaper (74%)
  • That the ePaper resembles the printed edition as closely as is possible (55%)
  • News headlines are constantly up-to-date with the latest news (35%)
  • Access to articles not freely available online (29%)
  • Attractive design and layout (28%)


Over the course of a typical week, in which situations would you use the tablet edition of the ePaper?

  • On the sofa (80%)
  • In the kitchen (33%)
  • At work or place of education (31%)
  • While travelling (21%)
  • In bed (17%)
  • During mealtimes (13%)
  • On the toilet (11%)


Lolland-Falsters Folketidende, (established 1873), is a Danish daily newspaper covering the municipal regions of Guldborgsund and Lolland. Its head offices are located in Nykøbing Falster. The newspaper comes out Monday-Saturday, with a daily print run of 15,473.