How data and paid content became a part of the newsroom / Comment les data et contenus payants sont devenus des piliers de la rédaction

Niddal Salah-Eldin, Director Digital Innovation at Die Welt / directrice de l’Innovation numérique à Die Welt 

Salah-Eldin explained the evolution of Die Welt‘s business model. Initially, it was a regular daily newspaper to buy at the newsstand, but in 2012, it became a journal that could be bought daily online. In 2017, it switched to a Freemium mode – a combination of a free and a premium model which has proved very successful.

According to Salah-Eldin, a data-informed journalism is better journalism.

The pillars of Die Welt’s success are the following: first, it is based on a flexible digital readership, which depends on the trust given by the reader. Secondary, editorial data is used as an accelerator for transformation and innovation. It brings us to see data as a friend rather than an enemy. Finally, this model has created bridges between the newsroom and other professional sectors.

Die Welt today functions with an internal grading system. For example, a free article is worth 30 points. If a video or a media is included in the article, then the journalist gets more points. If it has been read a lot, you get other points. More points are added if a reader shared it on his social media account. Thanks to this system, people in the newsroom get feedback on how their free and paid articles perform on a daily basis. This doesn’t aim to shame or celebrate people: the goal is to give actual highlights about what the audience likes to read.

Furthermore, numbers about subscriptions are collected. This way, the newspaper can know if people only click on an article or if reading it leads to an actual subscription.

Every month, sessions are organized in order to analyze which stories were successful. According to Salah-Eldin, this helps a lot. One thing to remember is that innovation « is not a hard process ». Every company has to define its own innovation path.

Owning its own entrepreneurial culture, she underlined, is the key to success: « The secret of success isn’t copying others. It is finding the ingredients you need, the relevant sponsors and investors and identifying the future problems you will face ».

Crédits photo : Jules Boudier

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