Finding treasure in a sea of data: how publishing houses are using big data to retain readers

By harnessing the potential of big data technologies, publishing houses are finding out when customers are likely to cancel their subscriptions and which digital content motivates them to keep reading, which means that they can use this technology to improve customer retention and increase their revenues.

How will publishing houses earn their money in the future? Most media companies are addressing this key issue – in particular as the demand for free online offerings increases. Digital content appeals to many readers because it is updated continuously and expands upon the classic print offering with discussion forums, background information, streams and photo galleries. 

According to Statista, 120 German newspapers are already relying on virtual paywalls to make money from what they do on the internet too. However, many are still using the freemium model, according to which the majority of articles remain free of charge in order to attract readers. But publishers can retain customers in the long run and increase their willingness to pay money for good content if they consider the opportunities provided by new technologies.

Using big data to personalize content and improve customer retention

Digitalization is providing media companies with new opportunities to increase their economic success by utilizing technological means. Big data is one way that publishers are putting themselves in a secure position for the future. Subscriptions and online offerings are a good basis for gaining new insights into the needs of their readerships using data and thus improving customer retention. 

For example, media companies can intelligently analyze the data from their online and print business in order to generate higher value added from existing sources of revenue using targeting and personalization. Just like in advertising, they can provide their readers with personalized content by using self-learning algorithms. These algorithms select the perfect combination of content for each reader in real time while utilizing the knowledge gained. This means that publishers can reduce bounce rates, increase retention periods and boost the number of subscriptions.

In particular, big data technologies can help publishing houses with the following issues:

  • Acquiring subscribers – via all channels and for all channels
  • Early detection of potential subscription cancellations 
  • Provision of personalized content – including specific local content
  • Increased advertising revenue
  • Topic analysis 

Lufthansa Industry Solutions provides publishers with solutions in the field of big data analytics with the help of its own competence center, the Data Insight Lab. In the Data Insight Lab, data scientists and data architects work together with companies to compile, structure and analyze their data. In addition to this, we provide consultation services to publishers, media companies, agencies, and TV and entertainment companies on issues relating to innovation, processes and strategies.