Japanese Publisher Mainichi Uses Cxense to Build Digital Subscription Business

26 Aug 2018 | By Tobias Arns

We're thrilled that one of Japan's largest publishers The Mainichi Newspapers (Mainichi) is going to implement Conversion Engine, Cxense's machine learning-powered solution for dynamic paywalls and personalized customer journeys. Founded in 1872, Mainichi Shimbun is Japan’s oldest newspaper and the only Japanese newspaper to have won a Pulitzer Prize. But Mainichi is not only rich in tradition, the company also has a keen sense for digital trends and technologies, we learned from Takeo Iwasawa, leader of Mainichi's Digital Media Division who visited Cxense headquarters in Oslo last week. 

Takeo Iwasawa, Executive Officer at Mainichi, explains why Cxense Conversion Engine plays a significant role in their strategy to grow digital subscriptions.

Digital subscriptions now at the top of Mainichi's agenda

As an early adopter among Japanese publishers, Mainichi is bound to introduce personalized customer journeys in order to convert more fly-by readers into paying subscribers and replace their hard paywall with a dynamic one based on Cxense technology. To Mainichi, this is not just a simple technology implementation. The measure represents a strategic shift away from the print business towards digital subscriptions and a more effective use of their advertising inventory. "Digital subscriptions will become more and more important for Mainichi and the dynamic paywall and personalization technology delivered by Cxense will play a significant role in our strategy", highlighted Takeo Iwasawa.

During a discussion with Cxense staff, Iwasawa explained the company's reasoning behind the strategy change: Print revenues are rapidly declining for Japanese publishers, he pointed out, a development in line with the global trend. Although Mainichi has been successful in monetizing content through digital advertising, they are aware that a single revenue stream comes with high risks and dependabilities - especially in an advertising market dominated by Google and Facebook. Therefore, Mainichi is enthusiastic about creating a digital platform that allows them to put the user first instead of the content, nurture a steady flow of intakes directly from readers, and establish close and long-lasting relationships with subscribers.

Mainichi well-positioned for monetizing first-party data

At the same time, Mainichi, with its network of dozens of sites, wants to become a more attractive advertising platform for brands and help them spend their budget more effectively. Therefore, the company has also extended its use of Cxense DMP to benefit from ready-to-use socio-demographic and interest segments, as well as real-time reporting on ad engagement. This will allow Mainichi to offer high value-audience segments, better monetize premium ad inventory, and increase advertising revenues. The ability to collect, analyze, and action first-party data is the foundation of any two-stream revenue model of advertising and subscriptions and since Mainichi started using Cxense in 2016 already, they are already well-positioned here.

Fredrik Morberg, Head of Cxense's Professional Services (left), and Christian Printzell Halvosen, Cxense CEO (right), presenting a gift to Takeo Iwasawa, Leader of Mainichi's Digital Media Division after signing the contract

Fredrik Morberg, Head of Cxense's Professional Services (left), and Christian Printzell Halvosen, Cxense CEO (right), present a gift to Takeo Iwasawa, Leader of Mainichi's Digital Media Division after signing the contract

Although this is just the beginning of our work with Mainichi on growing digital subscriptions, an A/B test already showed the great potential. "During a recent test, Mainichi and Cxense were able to generate a 21 percent boost in conversions. This proves that Conversion Engine can significantly strengthen a publisher's subscriber and revenue base," summarized Christian Printzell Halvorsen, Cxense CEO.