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Digital distribution: 5 minutes with… Laurent Kayser

A large number of publishers place their titles on subscription platforms like Cafeyn. We grab five minutes with Cafeyn CEO Laurent Kayser to find out how publishers can optimise their presence on subs platforms.

By Laurent Kayser

Digital distribution: 5 minutes with… Laurent Kayser

Q: How are readership habits changing?

A: Growing concerns regarding the proliferation of fake news and misinformation have underscored the importance of trusted publishers in shaping information consumption habits. This has led to an increasing preference for quality content among users, particularly evident across our core markets in Europe. There’s a notable surge in digital content consumption, with readers actively seeking out innovative formats.

At Cafeyn, our dedicated team of data experts conducted a study on user behaviour throughout 2023. The findings revealed a correlation between news events and user engagement, with consumption spiking notably during significant events such as Gaza and Ukraine. Sport emerged as the most-read category, closely followed by politics and entertainment.

The analysis also showcased a sustained appetite for information, with users spending an average of 15 minutes daily on the platform — a nearly 10% increase from 2022. On average, users accessed Cafeyn twice daily, resulting in a collective consumption of 10 million articles per month. These trends reflect a growing reliance on trusted sources for timely and relevant content.

Q: What part does being included on a subs platform like Cafeyn play in a publishing strategy?

A: Being featured on subscription platforms like Cafeyn offers diverse benefits to publishers. Firstly, it provides an avenue for incremental revenues, with publishers receiving compensation for every read of their titles and articles on the platform.

We are accredited as a certified supplier with ABC in the UK (and ACPM in France) so publishers can claim all copies read on Cafeyn in their ABC reports, which is highly valuable for publishers’ advertising agencies.

Beyond financial gains, visibility is a significant advantage of being part of subscription platforms. Cafeyn boasts a diverse array of publishers, ranging from renowned brands to smaller ones. This diversity ensures a seamless reading experience for users and provides publishers access to a large and qualified audience, including international readership, which typically requires substantial investments.

The audience reached through subscription platforms complements publishers’ direct readership. Cafeyn users, often referred to as “cherry pickers” of content, exhibit a preference for diverse sources, as evidenced by the 2023 data study showing a healthy increase in many digital magazine and newspaper readership. Consumers increasingly seek out subscription platforms to access content from various brands and sources.

Lastly, publishers can leverage valuable data insights from subscription platforms. We, for instance, introduced a data dashboard two years ago, granting publishers access to a wide range of user data. This dashboard will continue to evolve with new features in the coming months, offering publishers valuable insights to optimise their content strategies.

Q: How can publishers improve their performance on subs platforms?

A: Active involvement is paramount for achieving success on subscription platforms. Collaborating closely with the editorial team allows publishers to contribute effectively to content curation efforts, ensuring alignment with audience preferences and platform standards.

Another effective strategy is to actively promote the service to the target readership, emphasising the availability on subscription platforms. Publishers can leverage various communication channels to reach diverse audiences. Those who actively promote their presence on subscription platforms often experience higher readership engagement, contributing to the overall expansion of the user base and benefiting all publishers involved.

It’s essential for publishers to analyse the data provided by subscription platforms to gain insights into their audience. By comparing this data with their own metrics, publishers can refine their content strategies and tailor offerings to better meet audience preferences and behaviour patterns. This data-driven approach enables publishers to optimise their performance on subscription platforms and enhance audience engagement and satisfaction.

Q: Of the reader usage data you supply to publishers, what do you consider to be the most useful metrics for publishers?

A: Analysing the other brands read by a title’s most loyal readers can yield fascinating insights for publishers. Often, publishers are surprised by the diversity of interests among their audience on subscription platforms, highlighting the platform’s ability to attract varied readerships. Such nuanced data, which captures cross-title consumption patterns, is unique to platforms like Cafeyn, providing publishers with valuable audience intelligence.

We also recommend that publishers pay attention to the geographical location of their readers. As user experience increasingly evolves towards location-based content delivery for enhanced personalisation, integrating this aspect into publishers’ strategies is crucial.

Understanding the geographic distribution of their readership enables publishers to tailor content and offerings to provide the most relevant and accurate experience to users across different regions.

Analysing the reading completion rates of articles and full editions is essential for publishers. By gauging user engagement and consumption patterns, publishers can assess content effectiveness and identify areas for improvement. Comparing these metrics with their own internal data allows publishers to fine-tune their strategies specifically for subscription platforms, optimising content delivery and user experience to better meet audience preferences and expectations.

Q: How does digital complement print and vice versa?

A: Similar to the evolution witnessed in the music and video industries, media consumption habits are becoming increasingly hybrid in the realm of press and information. This trend encompasses a blend of traditional print formats, such as newspapers and magazines, alongside digital platforms, including streaming services and online publications.

Print media offers a sensorial experience that many publishers capitalise on by adapting content to suit the format. Print is often preferred for its tactile engagement and is favoured for long-form consumption. Conversely, digital platforms cater to the need for instant access to fresh news, catering to on-the-go reading during commutes and other activities.

Digital usage presents various usage scenarios. On one hand, digital subscriptions to specific titles grant audiences access to a publisher’s entire content ecosystem, including apps, PDFs, articles, podcasts, videos, with exclusive content. This approach is reinforced by publishers’ efforts in diversification, expanding their content offerings to meet evolving audience demands. On the other hand, subscriptions to platforms like Cafeyn provide access to a diverse array of sources, opinions, and subjects, catering to a distinct audience seeking breadth rather than depth in content consumption. While these users may engage with a wide range of content, they may not necessarily consume each piece in its entirety.

Q: How do you see the publishing sector evolving over the next couple of years?

A: Monetising audience engagement has become increasingly challenging for publishers, attributed to a combination of factors including growing scepticism toward traditional publishers and the dominance of major platforms like GAFA and TikTok in capturing advertising revenues.

In our view, publishers must continue and intensify their diversification strategies to offer expanded services to their subscribers, fostering brand loyalty and engagement. By broadening their offerings beyond traditional content formats, publishers can create stickiness and cultivate stronger relationships with their audience.

Simultaneously, aggregator platforms such as Cafeyn can serve as a viable solution to assist publishers in navigating these challenging times by tapping into complementary audiences and revenue streams. However, achieving critical scale is imperative for such platforms, enabling them to invest in technology and innovation to enhance user experience and adapt to evolving consumer preferences.

Q: What’s in the pipeline from Cafeyn?

A: In 2024, we are embarking on an ambitious and innovative product roadmap designed to deliver a seamless, personalised experience for our readers. Exciting updates are on the horizon, with some imminent releases aimed at enhancing user engagement and satisfaction.

We are actively exploring new business models and forging strategic partnerships to tap into new reader demographics at scale. Collaborating closely with publishers, we are leveraging our technological expertise and sharing best practices to drive mutual success.

Our internationalisation strategy remains a top priority, building on previous milestones such as the acquisition of Blendle in the Netherlands in 2020 and the establishment of offices in the UK and Canada. We are committed to consolidating our presence in existing markets while simultaneously expanding into new territories, aiming to extend our reach and enhance our offerings on a global scale. The finalisation of the ongoing acquisition of the non-nordic activities of Readly, in partnership with Bonnier News, would be a key milestone to create an international platform of scale.

Diversification is another focal point of our efforts. This journey began with the acquisition of miLibris in 2020, a leading provider of e-editions supporting publishers in their digital transformation. Additionally, the acquisition of Kidjo in 2021 and our collaboration with has allowed us to create added value for both publishers and readers, offering a comprehensive range of content for the entire family, from display to distribution. Through these strategic moves, we are poised to meet the evolving needs of our audience and the broader market landscape.

About us

Cafeyn (ex LeKiosk) was formed in 2006. Our ambition, driven by a deep passion for the media, has been to reconnect readers to the content that is relevant to them, by offering an ultra high-performance platform, based on advanced technology and backed up by a team of more than 90 people. With our expertise and network of strategic partners, the platform offers hundreds of titles, news and magazines, accessible via mobile app or PC.

We are looking to accelerate our international expansion over the next two years. Since our inception almost twenty years ago, we have continued to rapidly innovate the way we promote information streaming at a time when the industry is reinventing itself and the way the general public consumes information is changing.