Smartocto will be present at the INMA Media Subscription Summit in New York this week. There, we’ll discuss our collaboration with FT Strategies and one of our clients will demonstrate how the combination of user needs and AI has helped improve the performance of their news site.

The Summit addresses the strategic challenges faced by publishers in the era of AI disruption, accelerating digital transformation, and deep political and societal changes. Essentially, the same thing is happening all over the world: the survival of old media is under pressure, and new media are struggling to absorb the impact. Figures show that the growth in the number of subscriptions is stagnating, and there has been only moderate success in attracting young audiences to traditionally strong news brands.

Analysing output through the lens of user needs enhances editorial effectiveness. The synergy between experimentation and AI accelerates the trend, with machine learning algorithms serving as automated editorial allies.

Portrait of Dmitry Shishkin

Dmitry Shishkin CEO of Ringier Media International

A key focus of the Summit is leveraging data and AI for audience engagement – forming habits and keeping audiences informed without overload. These are precisely the issues smartocto is committed to. On day 5 (Friday), FT Strategies will demonstrate how its User Needs Labs programme takes publishers through the user needs approach, which aims to help media strengthen their connection with their audience. The consultancy branch of the Financial Times shows that this makes the audience more loyal and willing to pay for subscriptions.

Training in user needs approach

In User Needs Labs, FT Strategies provides the training and smartocto supplies participants with detailed data reports. "The demand for help remains high among journalistic media to help them better understand their website's data and to act on it," says Rutger Verhoeven, CMO and initiator of User Needs Labs. “The collaboration with FT Strategies ensures that these data insights gain traction in newsrooms.”

In a subsequent presentation, Renzo Veenstra (editor-in-chief of Dutch public regional broadcaster Omroep Brabant) will talk about how his editorial team has embraced the User Needs Model 2.0. His team now produces far fewer normal news updates and has found a specific mix of stories that better meet the need for context and emotion - Omroep Brabant-specific audience needs highlighted in the first phase of the Labs process. He’ll share the data and reports that demonstrate that this method yields great results. He’ll also elaborate on the benefits of combining this with smartocto's latest toolkit,

Would you like to meet us at the INMA Media Subscription Summit in New York? Then please register using the button below. If you want to participate in the User Needs Labs programme, sign up via the FT Strategies website. More information on how smartocto helps publishers increase subscriptions, could be found here.

Engaging your audience with journalism that is relevant to their needs should be the top priority for any publisher. A deep understanding of user needs will help address the common misalignment between what an audience wants and what it receives from news media organisations. User Needs Labs with smartocto and FT Strategies enables publishers to leverage advanced analytics to create a more compelling offering that will in turn drive audience loyalty and engagement.

Aled John Director, Deputy MD @ FT Strategies