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New research from Zephr and Digiday shows shift to subs

55% of publishers believe that their monetisation models will shift to a greater emphasis on subscriptions, according to new research from Zephr and Digiday.

New research from Zephr and Digiday shows shift to subs
James Henderson: “The subscription economy just got personal, and publishers should be able to seamlessly deliver a customer-centric experience.”

In their recent report, “Beyond Paywalls: Why the Customer Journey Matters on the Path to Smarter Audience Monetization” Zephr and Digiday polled more than 100 leading publishers in the UK, Europe and the US to understand how they believe media monetisation strategy has to evolve.

As well as coming out firmly in favour of the value of subscriptions, says Zephr, the research also found that:

  • 65% of publishers believe the ability to understand and manage the customer journey is key to maximizing the revenue potential of their audience.
  • More than half of the publishers surveyed are actively seeking to develop greater audience insights from first-party data.
  • Technical complexity and inflexible tools represent the two biggest barriers to publishers achieving a more agile and sophisticated monetisation mix.

The report explores the implications for media businesses and reveals how both B2B and B2C publishers are facing up to changing consumer expectations, how they are changing their processes and mindset, and how they are adopting smart technology strategies that will power growth.

James Henderson, CEO at Zephr, commented: “As the expectation generation grows up, consumers increasingly demand relationships with brands on their own terms. They want choice, flexibility and control of their data. The subscription economy just got personal, and publishers should be able to seamlessly deliver a customer-centric experience. Our platform makes it easy to know and serve customers better through intuitive, data-driven customer journey orchestration.”

Zephr – formerly known as Blaize – recently rebranded to signal a new phase in its own journey. Supported by Nauta, one of Europe’s leading VCs, it is one of a new breed of SaaS platforms designed to operate within an ecosystem of specialist technology providers, creating flexible customer-centric capabilities for businesses to accelerate revenue growth, says the company.

Blaize launched in 2017 with a mission to simplify subscriptions for the media sector. Working with brands such as News Corporation, Dennis Publishing and Which?, it sought to give publishers the capability to dynamically optimise customer journeys, reduce time-to-value and transition from primarily ad-funded models to a more diverse, customer-centric monetisation mix.

Henderson continues: “As paywalls become more common, the one-size-fits-all approach becomes less effective. We’re entering a new era where publishers should be able to deliver a multitude of different registration, trial, subscription and retention approaches tailored for different types of customers - easily, intelligently and dynamically. That’s the insight that has driven our product development and that’s why we felt it was time for our brand to reflect the commercial wind of change blowing through the media sector.”

The need for change is reinforced by Matt McKenzie, Senior Vice President Customer and Commercial Data Technology at News Corp: “As our thinking evolved beyond paywall enforcement, our focus became to deliver highly relevant customer experiences through data-driven dynamic journeys. Zephr allowed us to be more agile in bringing these customer journeys to life and gave us a test-and-learn capability that we had been lacking.”

Zephr’s technology aims to enhance the publisher’s monetisation mix by delivering an integrated SaaS IDAM and CX platform that enables personalised trial, sell and upsell journeys at scale. Non-technical teams can deploy data-driven journeys instantly with a drag-and-drop user interface. It supports any variant of paywall including hard, semi-permeable, metered, and first-click free for social and search. It prioritises consumer security through secure registration with built-in identity management, social sign-in, email and SMS authentication, says Zephr.

The full report from Zephr and Digiday is available here.