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This has been the path to 100,000 subscribers to El Mundo

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Ace
  • Premium THE WORLD exceeds 100,000 digital subscribers

EL MUNDO has just reached 100,000 digital subscribers, but behind this round number there is something that is not usually talked about: years of synchronized work between the newspaper’s editorial staff and the subscription, product and advertising teams.

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After two years of market analysis and definition of our model, in 2019 we made the decision to be the first traditional media in Spain to launch a premium model and we did it with a business plan that foresees reaching the 100,000 subscribers between the fourth and fifth year.

At that time the doomsayers multiplied who gave lectures on why the paywalls in Spain were not going to work, as well as predicting the collapse of our audiences and the consequent collapse of advertising revenue.

Well, we have reached that goal that seemed impossible just after turning three years old and, at the same time, we are still the medium that generates the most advertising impressions each day, with much advantage over our competition. And, little by little, that model was replicated by all the general media in Spain.

In our case we opted for a freemium model -a combination of free and paid news- precisely to do less damage to the advertising business. And it was the same that they applied later abc either The confidential, among many others. only the country opted in our market for a metered model -a monthly quota of free news before demanding payment-, but in January of this year they also turned their strategy towards freemium.

This is not to say that it was easy. The great peaks of growth are associated with periods of high demand for information that must be taken advantage of by offering the best content. It is then where the big media make a difference by having more numerous and experienced newsrooms. In Spain it happened with the Covid pandemic, the crisis of the PP or the war in Ukraine, just as in the US the historical headlines skyrocketed their subscriptions with the arrival of Trump to power or in the United Kingdom with the Brexit and the government of Boris Johnson.

Then there are many valley periods, like the last few months, with slower or almost flat growth. There the key is retention: that the subscribers you already have perceive the value that you bring to them daily (that they read to you recurrently, wow). To contextualize the impact of the inflationary situation we are experiencing, Netflix lost almost a million subscribers in the first half of the year and has had to modify its business model. And it is the great giant of paid content.

In these difficult times, everything depends on the ability to generate original content, especially in a freemium model like ours, which examines you every day: when you publish big topics like the Baraleaks or lead the information of big debates like the Trans Law or the crisis in Justice, registrations are growing at a good pace. The days with fewer topics that connect with your audience are immediately noticeable: the registrations plummet.

But the most important thing in these periods is the capacity for retention, which allows you to keep your subscriber portfolio positive. And in times of information fatigue, it is the medium that has to make an effort for continuing to be present in the routines of its subscribers.

At this point, our strategy of notifications and newsletters has been key, which are about to reach the 300,000 subscribers. Most of them are personalized and are created by many of our best journalists, but in recent months we have launched others that are adapted to the consumption of each user. We have also accelerated this month in the search for registered users, which has made us increase the daily capture of these registrations by 80%. The model consists of allowing those who register read some of the most value-added content for free of those that are published every day just leaving your mail.

This is why we are so pleased to have achieved that EL MUNDO has not lost subscriptions in any month since the launch of its payment model and to have reduced our churn (attrition rate) in recent months, which is already below 3% per month. It is also important to achieve this goal that 75% of our subscribers have an annual commitment with us. This data defines the loyalty of our community and makes us especially proud.

But Now it’s time to look to the future and continue to increase our community of readers, if possible at a higher rate. We want to apply everything we have learned in these first three years and exploit all the opportunities that technology offers us.

we give the Welcome to the first 100,000 subscribers. Our goal is that there are many, many more.

*Vincent Ruiz He is deputy to the director of El Mundo and responsible for its digital strategy

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