Digital Innovation Digital Publishing
4 mins read

How L’Edition du Soir became the most read digital-only edition in Europe

Recently the team at Ouest-France shared some highlights about their digital-only edition, L’Edition du Soir. Looking at these numbers, it appears L’Edition du Soir has become one of the most-read digital-only editions in Europe.

Twipe collaborated with Ouest-France to launch the first digital-only newspaper in France. This new product idea came from a trend the team saw in their audience’s reading habits, with more reading happening in the evening. In order to leverage this new moment of consumption, we co-created a whole new edition to meet readers’ changing needs.

Quickly, we saw that there was a developing market for news at the end of the day. The usage of tablets and smartphones indicated that people were willing to read things after work. We decided to create a 100% digital newspaper.

Edouard Reis Carona, Digital Editor at Ouest-France

To target these readers who are looking for something to read during their commute from work or while relaxing at home, Ouest-France created L’Edition du Soirpublished each weeknight at 6 PM. Since then, L’édition du Soir has continued to soar to new heights.

Join us as we dig into what has made this product so successful and what other publishers can learn from this success.

Focus on lighter content and interactive games

Not only did Ouest-France create a new product for their evening readers, they created entirely new content that is optimised for the interests of readers during this time period. That means there are more games and puzzles to help readers relax, in addition to reading the news. Additionally, there are quizzes, both related to the news of the day as well as more pop-culture related quizzes, which Edouard Reis Carona calls ‘essential’ for the large number of page views they generate. In a recent interview, we asked him if and how the content in the evening edition had changed since its inception seven years ago:

The spirit remains the same: offbeat news and relaxation. We have strengthened the games part, emphasizing the quizzes. We also improved the reading comfort, by offering more enrichments: more videos, podcasts etc.

Edouard Reis Carona, Digital Editor at Ouest-France

Listen to readers, and adapt

Since the very beginning, the team behind L’Edition du Soir has made it a top priority to listen to their readers and use those learnings to inform product decisions. After feedback from an early focus group, they added a form at the end of each edition to collect reader comments and questions. This form has stayed there ever since, and the team takes the feedback seriously.

One of the keys to success is having listened to readers’ opinions from the start. Every night we receive opinions on the content or on the technique which we take into account.

Edouard Reis Carona, Digital Editor at Ouest-France

Through the nature of being an entirely new product, L’Edition du Soir has enabled the team to operate as a startup within the larger Ouest-France organisation. That means the team has been able to quickly adapt the product based on reader input, as well as making changes based on the large amount of analytics and data they have been able to collect. While print newsrooms have to rely on instinct and gut feeling when choosing their tone, L’Edition du Soir has been able to use an iterative approach. It kept trying new ideas, while continually evaluating each decision based on the previous edition’s success. This led to the creation of a fully-matured newspaper, tailored to its audience while still remaining highly flexible.

The evening edition has served as a sandbox for innovation.

Edouard Reis Carona, Digital Editor at Ouest-France

Convert new subscribers and retain existing

While it is phenomenal how well the team has been able to build an entirely new audience for L’Edition du Soir, there have also been benefits for the wider organisation. One key benefit is its effect on churn: paying users who regularly read L’Edition du Soir have a higher retention rate than those who do not.

Evening subscribers are mostly subscribed to all of our digital products. They help reduce the churn rate because the content is very consumed. The evening edition helps secure our digital subscriptions.

Edouard Reis Carona, Digital Editor at Ouest-France

This digital-only edition is also one of the few we see in the industry innovating on discovery for edition products. Many publishers put their ePapers entirely behind a paywall, often not even showing any taste of the content if the user is not logged in. This means it can be difficult to convert website readers into edition readers as there is a total lack of sampling. This is a missed opportunity to include the ePaper in acquisition strategies. L’Edition du Soir has avoided this pitfall, making the edition a clear part of Ouest-France’s digital acquisition strategy. The edition makes use of the metered social sharing on our platform, so that when an article from the ePaper is shared on social, non-subscribers can still swipe left or right to additional articles in the edition before hitting the paywall. This helps new readers to discover the value this edition provides.

L’Edition du Soir also benefits from a dynamic freemium paywall approach, meaning readers can access or download an edition and then only read a certain number of articles per month. Before being asked to pay for a subscription, readers are asked for their email address to read an additional number of stories that month. This is one of the first examples of registration-walls in Europe — proving once again that innovation can come from edition products as well! There have also been experiments with giving readers the ability to access additional articles if they view a 30 second commercial video.

Paywall thresholds have to be high enough to create habit, but low enough to allow for good monetisation.

Jean-Joseph Lattuada, Projects Director at Ouest-France

Mary-Katharine Phillips
Media innovation analyst @ Twipe

Original content republished with permission of Twipe

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