News Ltd prepares for digital future with BI

The media company has built a digital subscription database for targeted offers, advertising

Australian media giant News Ltd is using business intelligence (BI) and digital subscriptions to build up a better profile of its readers.

Speaking at the CeBIT BI and Big Data stream in Sydney, head of commercial development Les Wigan told delegates that a third of its audience is now reading news on a mobile device. According to Wigan, the media company reaches 7 million people per month through a combination of digital and print publications.

“We are seeing that the demand for local and specialist content is growing aggressively and moving away from generalist providers,” he said.

“The challenge for News Ltd is how we leverage all the rich data that we are capturing with the goal of improving the user experience.”

Wigan said that the company has identified two outcomes it wants to achieve online.

These are increased advertising yield through targeted advertising along with increased content consumption and engagement of users to drive digital subscriptions.

To do this, the company recently launched a digital subscription offering for the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun titles called News +.

“We can now target potential subscribers and tailor contextual messages through emails in an attempt to influence their consumption behaviour,” he said. “If you search for sports, business and news you are more likely to find value to subscribe than if you’re simply searching for news.

“It’s early days for us but we’re pleased with the results so far,” he said. Wigan pointed out that pay walls have worked for overseas publications. The New York Times now has more than 700,000 digital subscribers while the Financial Times has 300,000 digital subscribers.

In conjunction with News +, it decided to redesign all of its Web and mobile sites after conducting 4000 customer surveys.

The result was increased website load times of 45 per cent, easier access to news and better mobile site optimisation.

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Targeting advertising

News Ltd recently partnered with a digital media platform provider to offer audience segmentation to advertisers.

Data is collected from its network and combined with the News + subscriber information.

“The first component is identification; this gives us the ability to match advertiser audiences with ours. If a motor vehicle advertiser approaches us and is about to start a new campaign, they want to reach people who could be interested in buying a new car.”

If the advertiser wants to only target females with the campaign, for example, News Ltd can tailor its subscriber list to ensure advertising only reaches that specific demographic.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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