How Swedish Dagens Nyheter is building a successful paywall
On Thursday, Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter’s editor-in-chief, Peter Wolodarski, posted a tweet saying that his newspaper is attracting thousands of new digital subscribers each month. The paper now has close to 40,000 digital subscribers.
DN närmar sig 40 000 betalande digitala prenumeranter. Starka tillväxten fortsätter, flera tusen nya varje månad, väldigt roligt!
— Peter Wolodarski (@pwolodarski) March 17, 2016
Smashdig got in touch with the head of DN.se, Anna Åberg, to ask her about the legacy paper’s digital strategy and how important its paywall is for business.
Smashdig: What’s your reaction to the fact that you’ve been able to attract so many new digital subscribers to Dagens Nyheter?
Anna Åberg: We strongly believe in our strategy to charge for content online as well [as in print], and it’s great to see that it works. We are humble before the changes our industry is going through and that it can turn around quickly, but this means we’re looking positively on the future.
SD: What’s the reason behind the increase of digital subscribers?
AÅ: A number of things. In part, we’re experiencing that the will to pay has increased. We’re seeing a difference in how our paywall is looked at today compared to only year ago. We have also put a lot of efforts in our journalism with a focus on quality and on what makes DN unique. We’re seeing that many people are ready to pay to access what we’re doing. We’ve also worked a lot in how we’re communicating what you get as a subscriber. We are constantly A/B testing our flows and the messages that meet users. And the collaboration with Klarna has been successful. To make it easy to pay has been a key factor.
SD: Are the new subscribers reading DN primarily via desktop or mobile?
AÅ: We still have a lot of desktop traffic even among the new subscribers. It’s also on desktop the conversion is the highest. But mobile is increasing rapidly.
SD: How important is it to DN to keep attracting a steady stream of digital subscribers?
AÅ: It’s a pre-requisite in order for us to keep producing quality journalism on the level we’re at today. We see it as our way forward.
SD: What’s your view on your continued work, will you keep increasing the number of digital subscribers?
AÅ: We have set very high goals in terms of new digital subscribers for 2016, so we are expecting a continued strong increase. During 2015, we doubled the number of digital subscribers. We have a large focus on the subscribers in the digital product development, and it will become clear throughout the year. Right now, we’re rebuilding DN.se, and on the new site quite a bit of functionality and services will be available for logged in users. We’re also looking at how we can separate the experiences between logged in and logged off.
This interview was conducted via email. It has been translated from Swedish into English. The interview has been slightly edited for clarity and length.Dagens NyheterPeter WolodarskiAnna ÅbergDN.se