Thinking digitally

It’s an undeniable fact that, these days, readers migrate to the digital platforms to be aware of the news events, leaving a fertile ground for the printed journalism to reach fabulous audiences and cushion the loss of ad revenue by implementing policies of paid subscriptions for their contents.

In our case, 80 percent of the readers of are smartphone users. The most recent record indicates that in January we had 3 million unique users that produced 13 million visits to our pages, breaking the historical records of the Listin Diario.

Encouraged by the phenomenon of the ever-growing digital audiences, the most popular printed newspapers of the world have applied strategies that combine the re-focus of their contents to respond properly to the expectations of this enormous mass of readers, with the programs of paid subscriptions that, on average, cost around 10 USD per month, per user.

These payment walls vary in their presentations. Some offer, as an additional benefit, the lessening or complete removal of ads on a given platform, some offer digital books about health, cooking recipes or technological innovations, others offer privileged access to the special contents of the printed equivalent, such as extra analysis, researches and the opinions of experts, or even early-access to specific films or musical events, among other rewards. There are payment methods available on weekends only, others throughout the entire week, month or year, sometimes with discounts during a testing period.

Naturally, all this is the product of an in-depth reinvention of traditional models, which now consist on adjusting the planning and organization of the news based on the preferences of the users of the digital platforms.

That’s to say, “thinking digitally”, without undermining the main asset: the reliability of the contents, which is adhered to the golden rule of thorough verification of the facts.

An example of this is offered by The New York Times, which has so far achieved more than 4.3 million digital subscribers and is committed to reaching at least 10 million by 2025, thanks to its investments in the adequate technology that strengthens the convergence between the printed and digital platforms.

This has allowed them to maintain subscriptions and sales revenues as 60 percent coming from the printed platform, while the other 40 percent comes from their platform. Even though, digital advertising continues to provide more income than their printed advertising.

It’s necessary to keep in mind that the reinvention, in itself, is not about the sole search for greater monetization of the platforms, but to also improve the competitiveness of the printed content, by prioritizing higher quality content over the news of the moment or trending news, which circulate instantly through the digital networks and usually expire in a rather short time.

– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.