Exploring Digital-Only Editions

23 October 2020


We recently hosted a webinar looking at digital-only editions and it turned out to be our highest-attended webinar of the year so far…
Was it just a coincidence that we picked a good time, or are digital-only editions in the spotlight right now because they are providing a way for publishers to successfully transition print subscribers to digital? We think the latter!
There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift from print to digital, but this was a trend that we predicted at the end of 2019. As publishers strived to offer users a premium digital product to focus on increasing reader revenue.
What are digital-only editions?
Digital-only editions are digital editions created using web content and HTML templates, instead of existing PDF content. The end product mimics the look and feel of the print-replica digital edition and perhaps more importantly, the actual printed newspaper or magazine.
How & why are they being used?
Amongst our own client base we are seeing publishers use them to launch Evening Editions in an effort to provide subscribers with added value. The Evening Editions are being presented alongside the existing print-replica editions and encourage readers to increase their interaction with the brand, helping with subscription retention.
We’re also seeing publishers use them to either completely replace print editions or to launch a digital-only edition on days when they aren’t producing a print edition. This way, the publisher is still creating a [digital] product which offers readers the familiar print-like experience, but without any of the printing or distribution costs.
Finally, they are also used to launch spin-off brands or special editions. Some publishers may find that their audience has a particular interest in food and recipe content, therefore launch a digital-only food edition for those engaged subscribers. They can also be used to create one-off editions for sporting events or election coverage.
Benefits of digital-only editions
Digital-only editions have the advantage of analytics and subscription integrations, meaning that publishers have access to a range of stats which are not available with print editions. This insight can help to shape content strategies and can provide behavioural insights which can help to improve the digital product and increase reader revenue.
Digital-only editions can also be integrated with other third-party products, such as puzzles, video content or live sports scores. This makes the product more interactive, increasing reader engagement.
You can read more about the launch of the Dallas Morning News Evening Edition here or watch our recent webinar for more insight