The importance of understanding the value of your product
With the steady decline in print advertising revenue, many of the world’s largest and most respected newspapers, including the likes of the Washington Post, The Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal, have implemented online paywalls as their revenue strategy of choice.
The reasons why are clear: at its peak in 2005, print advertising revenue delivered an annual revenue of $47.4 billion; fast-forward to 2014 and that figure has dropped to just $16.4 billion. Meanwhile, digital advertising has done little take up the slack, bringing in a paltry $3.5 billion in revenue in 2014[i].
With many other newspapers opting for a free model, those adopting a paywall strategy have faced significant competition to retain their core readership. Yet, despite free alternatives being readily available, many businesses are instead investing in paid subscriptions for their employees to access these papers, rather than use free versions of other papers.
So why is it that businesses are willing to pay for what some might see as a non-essential service, especially one that can be found elsewhere? Let’s take a look:
The Business Case for Premium News Services
The key for success for most paid news services is that they are not just offering the same service as free newspapers, but rather a premium news experience that provides far more in the way of features and benefits. These benefits include convenience, quality, and a superior business education; all of which are highly valuable commodities.
Learn from the insight and experience of world-class business experts
As with any business, the financial success of a newspaper determines the budget they have for hiring and supporting high-quality employees. In the case of online news portals, the revenue from the paywall directly affects the ability of that newspaper to provide reports, opinion, and news from the best sources.
For businesses, the value of hearing daily from world-class experts cannot be undervalued. Frequent reading of a newspaper can widen the knowledge and experience of your employees, and help them look beyond their business at what is happening in the wider market. This, in turn, can spark ideas and conversation that can develop into new products and expansion into new markets.
As with any educational resource, it is the quality and knowledge of the teacher, or in this case, writer, that makes it worth paying for. The insights into leadership, strategy and the marketplace that experts provide is a service worth investing in.
Different formats provide easier, more convenient access
For most workers with demanding jobs, time is at a premium, and there is little opportunity for reading the news during the working day, other than the occasional snatched moment during a break. The real opportunity for catching up on the news comes during a worker's commute, and it is here that premium services shine.
Premium news services typically offer a far wider choice of formats through which employees can access news. For example, smartphone and tablet ePapers provider users who commute by train or bus with the opportunity to read the news on their favourite device. Audio versions are ideal for anyone who prefers to listen to their news, and are particularly useful for anyone commuting by car.
Services from some publications, such as The Economist and The Financial Times, go one step further, offering morning briefings that deliver a summary of the most relevant news to your inbox every morning. These wide ranges of formats significantly increase the availability and convenience of accessing news and increase the likelihood of employees doing so.
Digital buying habits: Millennials expect paid services
Research by the Media Insight Project has found that 53% of Millennials regularly access paid news content, with 40% of them doing so at their own expense[i]. Despite what others may think, many of this generation understand the value of high-quality news, both for their own personal self-improvement and the advancement of their career.
Businesses that provide access to premium news content are providing a valuable and useful service for these employees, and while a small perk, this can help boost employee morale and boost a wider strategy of rewarding and retaining key employees.
Understand your clients
Reading premium news service is a great way for employees to learn more about the market changes that are affecting your key and prospective clients. Each of the stories is a reflection of a real-world business situation, something that affects the everyday behaviour of businesses around the word.
By providing a premium news service for your employees you are choosing to understand and take advantage of this information, for the betterment of your business. News can give you vital information about both current and future clients, helping you understand their motivations, pressures, and decisions. Used effectively, the information contained within the news can be used to find and engage with new clients, providing a potential business boost.
While this can be achieved manually, our tool, Cognism, helps businesses use premium news and other media channels to deliver leads and provide sales teams with real-time insights to help connect with them.
Is It Time to Invest in Your Employees?
The benefits of premium news services to both businesses and employees are clear: well-read employees have a better knowledge of business, a better understanding of the global market, and can contribute more to the business. The added accessibility means that employees who would otherwise have no time for reading the news are able to do so using whichever format is most useful for them.
Despite this obvious business case, some businesses still struggle with the concept of paying for digital news. The benefits can be seen most clearly when compared with other learning and development options; for a fraction of the cost of most courses, employees can be exposed to the latest business minds and analysis. For forward-thinking businesses who want to encourage their employee’s development, it is clear that investing in premium news services is a high-return investment.
Going one step further, Cognism can help you supercharge the effect premium news can have on your business, providing a constant delivery of leads and insights into their behaviour. If you’re interested in learning more about Cognism please contact us.