Paid content comes out top at Digital Media Europe

This past week I took a trip to Copenhagen for the WAN IFRA hosted Digital Media Europe event, a gathering of 300 likeminded attendees eager to discuss the current and future state of the media industry, and listen to insights from many of their peers.

Differing from the expo style approach of the annual World Publishing Expo (which takes place in Berlin this coming fall) DME is a more intimate affair, this year located in what was once the former printing press of JP/Politikens with all the talks taking place in the same hall as stands from Atex, Chartbeat, Content Insights, Page Suite, Madington and, of course, us.

Having been to a few of these events over the years, it was refreshing to have such a positive start to the proceedings with the opening keynote from Stig Ørskov (CEO, JP/Politikens Hus) and Dorthe Bjerregaard-Knudsen (COO, JP/Politikens Hus) heralding the “Golden Age of Journalism”.

And this introduction sat well as a good overview of the message that was filtering through the different talks delivered throughout the duration of the conference, which can be boiled down to a few simple points:

  • Content is still King. Never under estimate the importance of good quality journalism as your most effective sales tool.
  • Subscriptions or Paid Content (just don’t call it a paywall!) are beginning to pay off. Especially in the Nordics.
  • Its time to stop chasing page views and social reach as a metric for success. Time spent viewing your content on your terms (platform) is far more beneficial, and a realistic gauge of success.

Combined, these three points highlight that the only sure fire way to truly have success in modern publishing is with a solid business plan or vision, founded on generating good quality content – both for paying customers AND for premium paying advertisers.

On a related note a recurring topic that was brought to the fore was the importance of having your own voice for your brand. One that drives both your public and internal motivation. From established oldies like The Economist, who experiment with different voices on different platforms (Medium, Snapchat and Line) in an attempt to drive subscription growth:

Through to startups such as Zetland, who embrace a playful approach throughout their business and content, and have succeeded in launching a profitable subscription based product from scratch, complete with daily singing exercises!


So, in conclusion –  the clear takeaway from the event was the fact that a good paid content strategy can, and will, pay off. Summed up very nicely buy this slide posted by Grzegorz Piechota


Interested to know more? Then check out the #DME17 hashtag on Twitter