Post Digital Share A Boon To Partners
At least one local newspaper publisher piloting a digital content-sharing program with The Washington Post has seen a deluge of interest from subscribers after less than a week.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that 7,000 of its subscribers signed on for free access to the Post’s digital content after only five days and one promotional email. The Strib is one of six papers participating in the initial pilot, which offers premium subscribers of those papers free access to the Post’s entire suite of digital products.
The pilot, which the Post announced in March and began rolling out last month, also includes The Dallas Morning News, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Toledo Blade, The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
For its part, the Post isn’t sharing any early data among the other participants. “We are still in the very early stages with new publications signing on and partners rolling out their programs to subscribers weekly,” said Shani George, communications manager, in an email. “We are very pleased with the growth we’ve seen so far.”
At the Dallas Morning News, Publisher and CEO Jim Moroney III says after only one real marketing outreach, the paper has seen in “the lower multiple thousands” of subscribers sign on. “Off to a good start, but [we] need more time and data points,” he said in an email.
The Pittsburg Post-Gazette reports over 2,500 redemptions over the offer since launch.
Tom Zeller, audience development manager at the Toledo Blade, says 1,200 subscribers have registered since the initiative was launched two weeks ago with an email and print ad campaign.
“We were really looking at this as something to add value for our print subscribers in the face of an aggressive price increase this year,” Zeller says of the partnership’s fortuitous timing. “It did exactly what we wanted it to do, and we’re still getting more conversions. We’re pretty early in.”
For Jim Bernard, the Strib’s SVP of digital, the partnership and its strong early yield could serve as a template to engage his paper’s own core subscribers but who could be more tangential subscribers to other media outlets.
“What’s really great about this program is the lack of conflict between the business goals of the Washington Post and us,” he says. “Our subscribers are getting an incremental value and are also going to be engage on the Post’s website in a way that will help it and help us retain them. There’s a very interesting and surprising win-win.”
For its part, the Post’s goals have been widely seen as an audience play to increase site traffic and, by extension, its value in the programmatic market.
“This program is a way for us to work with newspapers and other print and digital partners around the country to both add value to their subscriptions and expose The Post to a wider audience than ever before,” Post president Stephen P. Hills said in a March statement.
New partners, including all 13 newspapers in The E.W. Scripps Company chain along with its broadcaster WCPO-TV, which features a paywall around premium content, will launch later this year.