At the bi-annual Fagfestival in Denmark, Lars Munch yesterday told the audience that JP/Politikens Hus has around 50,000 digital subscribers in total.
As far as we know, Ekstra Bladet has 23,000 digital subscribers (according to the editor-in-chief), Politiken approximately 18,000 (according to MediaWatch). That’s 41,000 in total. So, unless there are very many “double subscribers” who get both Ekstra Bladet and Politiken through their inclusion in Telmore’s phone subscription, only has around 9,000 persons pay for Jyllands-Posten‘s Premium program.
Lars Munch is chairman of the board of directors of JP/Politikens Hus, which is the largest and dominant newspaper publisher in Denmark. The company publishes a number of newspaper in Denmark and Southern Sweden.
Yesterday, Politiken.dk publicly announced the goal of reaching 100,000 paying digital subscribers in 2017. According to MediaWatch, politiken.dk currently have approximately 18,000 digital subscribers. Some of these (we don’t know how many) subscribe through a bundled phone subscription from telecom provider Telmore that also includes HBO Nordic, Mofibo, Ekstra Bladet’s EKSTRA, and others.
Politiken.dk’s metered model of digital subscription was introduced in May, 2013. Here, audiences had free access to 25 articles per month – after that, they would have to pay 44 DKK in monthly subscription. Earlier this year, the digital subscription was adjusted to cost 66 DKK monthly and only have 15 articles free of charge.
Today, in an article in MediaWatch, Politiken announced that it’s going to adjust its digital subscription. Politiken currently has a metered model with free access to 25 articles per month and two types of subscription: one that costs 44 DKK monthly, and one that costs 66 DKK and also includes membership of the Politiken Plus shopping program.
With the adjustment announced today, the 44 DKK option is closed so that all subscribers must pay 66 DKK per month. Furthermore, the number of free articles will be reduced (even though it remains unclear just how big that reduction will be). The MediaWatch article does not specify when the adjustment will take place.
It’s hardly surprising that Politiken adjusts their digital subscription model this way. There are two reasons for this.
First, the difference between what Politiken and Berlingske, their most comparable competitor online, offer has been quite large. They both use the metered model, but while Politiken would monthly give away 25 article before charging 44 DKK, Berlingske only give free access to 10 articles before charging 79 DKK. The fact that there has been almost as many digital subscribers to Berlingske (who charges more for quantitatively less) indicates that Politiken could actually tweak their subscription model to the organization’s own benefit.
Second, The New York Times did the same. According to people within the organization, Politiken largely based their digital subscription strategy on that of the NYT, and almost exactly one year after the NYT launched their paywall (on April 12, 2012 – it was launched in March, 2011), they downsized the number of free articles from 20 to ten. In short, the strategy was to initially test the market and make the customers used to paying for online news – and then adjust the subscription model to one that would be commercially viable for the news organization. This modus operandi has now been reenacted by Politiken, the difference being that the Danish news organization conducted the adjust only eight months after the initial implementation.