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Media Intelligence : MT Resource Guide 2012
What is further planned in repositioning the AFR and the app rollout? Repositioning The Australian Financial Review is an ongoing journey. Since I was appointed CEO and Publisher of the Financial Review Group and Michael Stutchbury Editor in Chief, there has been a series of significant changes. These have included a radical change in our subscription pricing, renewal and restructure among the senior leadership ranks, and portfolio review across our controlled circulation magazines which lead to the closure of MIS and the relaunch of CFO in a new quarterly magazine Capital. Broadly speaking our marketing around this is across three phases of ‘Revolution’: Price (radical change in subscription pricing to reward loyalty and encourage usage of both print and digital platforms), Agenda (step up in our news breaking and agenda setting including appointment of leading columnists Jennifer Hewett and Matthew Stevens) and Experience (launch of world class iPad app). In the first seven days of the app being launched (May 22) we had 21,111 downloads: Multiple times our expectations. It is rated four-and-a -half stars in the App Store and has received significant plaudits and won new subscribers. The next step in the app roll-out is the addition of two new features designed to lift the reach of the AFR beyond its existing readership: in-app purchases and newsstand integration. In-app purchases will allow people to use their iTunes account details to purchase access to the app for a period of time, and automatically renew their access if they choose. Newsstand integration will allow people to have the Financial Review automatically downloaded to their device in the background each night so the entire edition is available when they wake up. Further extensions include cross-platform support and better support for mobile phones. What is your monetisation platform? FRG’s monetisation strategy has a number of legs – print sales, digital subscription, print and digital display advertising and events. Increasingly event sponsorship forms part of a broader advertising partnership. Previously a $780 per annum print subscriber had to pay $360 additionally for digital access (total $1140). A digital subscriber had to pay $1140 on basis of ‘no substitution’ from print versus digital. However it was simply too high a price point and the market had voted. So we have completely changed this model. With a cue from the likes of The New York Times, print subscribers can now enjoy digital access for no extra cost. Acknowledging that the marginal cost of distribution for digital is lower, a digital subscription is now $100 cheaper at $680. But note that importantly it is not so low as to accelerate a migration from print to digital. We want to incentivise people to access our journalism in different forms, while acknowledging some will prefer solely print, or solely digital. Since the pricing changes were introduced on December 12, afr.com traffic has doubled and our digital subscriber base has lifted from the low 8000s to today close to 18,000. Our revenues will also remain a balanced mix between circulation and advertising. Financial review oF digital impact Financial Review Group CEO & Publisher Brett Clegg speaks to Media Titles about the latest steps in repositioning the AFR. “We want to incentivise people to access our journalism in different forms, while acknowledging some will prefer solely print, or solely digital.” – Brett Clegg, Financial Review Group, CEO and Publisher case study Case Study newspapers 51 p51 CS_AFR.indd 51 11/6/12 12:23:09 AM
Media Trends+Strategy 2012
MT Resource Guide 2013