Schibsted started putting some of its content behind a paywall in 2015, which began its freemium journey, explained Siri Holstad Johannessen, head of sales and marketing at Schibsted, speaking to INMA at the 2017 INMA World Congress in New York City.

The hybrid model is working well for the news media company.

“We’ve seen great results and a lot more speed in building a subscription base,” Johannessen said. “What we see is that the readers that read us the most, they convert through the meter. And the readers that want to read just one article or some of the content, they convert through the freemium.”

The company is focusing on three areas as it considers its paid content model:

  1. Frequency.
  2. Content.
  3. Time.

“By focusing on that, we’ll reach the readers when they’re in a situation where they’re either just browsing and they're curious and they want to experience more of our content before they make up their minds if they want to subscribe. With the readers reading us frequently, they’re probably more willing to pay. So that’s why we want to experiment with frequency.

With time, I think it’s important for us to learn more about when the readers are willing to pay. If you’re reading us on Saturdays, maybe you’re more willing to pay for the content on a Saturday or on the weekends. While maybe during the week, you don’t have that much time to read. But you’re still curious and we want to keep you curious and give you more content, then maybe build habits. Its dynamic. And then if the reader picks up more reading during the week, then we can convert during the week as well.