Digi­tal dis­rup­ti­on has forced news orga­ni­sa­ti­ons to rethink busi­ness models and trans­form pro­ducts to sustain growth. Tho­se that invested in data and rese­arch to crea­te user-cen­tric pro­ducts have seen across dif­fe­rent plat­forms and suc­cee­ded in pivo­ting towards a digi­tal sub­scrip­ti­on model.


In the New York Times’ 2017 full-year earnings release, they decla­red that that while sub­scrip­ti­on reve­nue grew 7.5 per cent, this was most­ly due to a 25.8 per cent sur­ge in digi­tal-only pro­ducts. Con­ver­se­ly, total ad reve­nue was down 3.4 per cent in the pre­vious year. This shift is also reflec­ted in the Finan­ci­al Times’ pro­noun­ce­ment that it was now a ‘majo­ri­ty digi­tal con­tent busi­ness’, with digi­tal sub­scrip­ti­ons making up over 78 per cent of its readership.

Not only that but the­re is evi­dence that sug­gests that the­re are audi­en­ces that will pay for con­tent. The Digi­tal News Report, released a few weeks ago by the Reu­ters Insti­tu­te, found that the pro­por­ti­on of tho­se pay­ing for online news in the pre­vious year stood at 14 per cent.


Howe­ver, the per­cen­ta­ge of peop­le pay­ing for online news remains low in the the DACH coun­tries (8 per cent each in Ger­ma­ny and Aus­tria, and 12 per cent in Switz­er­land), far bene­ath the BENELUX and nor­dic coun­tries, whe­re an average of 19 per cent of the popu­la­ti­on pay for online news.


While digi­tal sub­scrip­ti­on reve­nue models won’t work for all publishers, tho­se who move in this direc­tion need to look at how they cur­r­ent­ly pre­sent their pro­ducts and how and if this rep­res­ents how peop­le search for and read news online.





If you look at the web­site for any lega­cy news brand, they tend to group sto­ries in tra­di­tio­nal news­pa­per sec­tions, usual­ly news, sports, cele­bri­ty, cul­tu­re, opi­ni­on, world, busi­ness, tech, sci­ence, and tra­vel. Each sec­tion then breaks down into fur­t­her sec­tions.


For examp­le, news might lead to a main news page from which the reader can click to reach fur­t­her sec­tions such as domestic news, for­eign news, poli­ti­cal news, etc.


But this is pro­ble­ma­tic sin­ce a sto­ry might touch on many topics. At the time of wri­ting, Ger­man chan­cellor Ange­la Merkel’s lea­dership just under­went a serious cri­sis, as Horst See­ho­fer, CSU lea­der and inte­ri­or minis­ter, threa­tened to quit unless he and Mer­kel could come to an agree­ment over immi­gra­ti­on into the Ger­ma­ny.


This sto­ry tou­ches on many topics and key­wor­ds such as Horst See­ho­fer, Ger­ma­ny, EU immi­gra­ti­on, and the Ger­man phra­se Uni­ons­frak­ti­on, describing the bit­ter row over migra­ti­on poli­cy bet­ween Chan­cellor Ange­la Mer­kel and Horst See­ho­fer, Ger­man inte­ri­or minis­ter and lea­der of CSU, the Bava­ri­an sis­ter par­ty of Ms Merkel’s CDUAs you can see from the screen­shot on the left, ‘Horst See­ho­fer’ was tren­ding on Mon­day on Frank­fur­ter All­ge­mei­ne. This topic page chan­ges auto­ma­ti­cal­ly, often from second to second, to reflect what the readership is inte­rested in.





In the second shot, taken from Zeit Online, the­re is now a the­me page dedi­ca­ted to Uni­ons­frak­ti­on that lists all the sto­ries and refe­ren­ces about this sub­ject.



By sen­si­b­ly cura­ting sto­ries auto­ma­ti­cal­ly, readers do not — and will not — go loo­king through dif­fe­rent sites and web­pages to find the best coverage.

This leads to an increa­sed audi­ence enga­ge­ment, whe­re readers visit a news publisher’s web­site at more fre­quent inter­vals, rea­ding lar­ger volu­mes of arti­cles. It also helps publishers to have a more direct rela­ti­ons­hip with readers, rely­ing less on third-par­ty plat­forms.

At Ret­res­co, our con­tent cura­ti­on sys­tem is built for such a pur­po­se. Using Natu­ral Lan­guage Under­stan­ding (NLU) tech­no­lo­gy, we help publishers extract value from their con­tent by making it more acces­si­ble and dis­co­ver­a­ble for readers, faci­li­ta­ting a loy­al and retur­ning readership. Its other pro­ducts inclu­de a tren­ding topics dash­board to help edi­to­ri­al teams spot con­tent gaps, and the abi­li­ty to be inte­gra­ted into any CMS sys­tem.

Jour­na­lism is chan­ging, and the old ways of pre­sen­ting infor­ma­ti­on will soon no lon­ger be old, just obso­le­te. As we learnt from the latest Reu­ters Digi­tal News Report, digi­tal trans­for­ma­ti­on should be embraced. Readers are still readers and while the messa­ge has not chan­ged, the mes­sen­ger has.



For more infor­ma­ti­on, plea­se con­tact:

Pete Car­vill (@pete_carvill)
Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­ons Mana­ger
+49 (0)30 555 781 999



About Ret­res­co

Foun­ded in Ber­lin in 2008, Ret­res­co has beco­me one of the lea­ding com­pa­nies in the field of natu­ral lan­guage pro­ces­sing (NLP) and machi­ne learning. Ret­res­co deve­lops seman­tic app­li­ca­ti­ons in the are­as of con­tent clas­si­fi­ca­ti­on, recom­men­da­ti­on, as well as high­ly inno­va­ti­ve tech­no­lo­gy for natu­ral lan­guage gene­ra­ti­on (NLG). Through near­ly a deca­de of deep indus­try expe­ri­ence, Ret­res­co helps its cli­ents acce­le­ra­te digi­tal trans­for­ma­ti­on, increa­se ope­ra­tio­nal effi­ci­en­ci­es, and enhan­ce custo­mer enga­ge­ment.



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