In this podcast episode with Michael Ribero, Chief Subscriptions Officer at The Washington Post, we talk about challenges and opportunities that arise when transitioning from print to digital.
Listen to the full episode to learn about The Washington Post’s success secrets including:
- Running paper and digital subscriptions on distinctive strategies
- Accommodating and understanding changes in technology
- Optimizing the payment process for readers on Apple devices
- Personalizing with ethical considerations
For noteworthy quotes and key takeaways from the episode, read the article - Transitioning to Digital: Insights from Michael Ribero of The Washington Post
Episode Topics at a Glance
- Michael Ribero's transition to the media industry
- Washington Post's strategy for transitioning to digital and personalization efforts.
- Delivering personalized experiences
- Using data to inform monetization strategies
- Experimenting with pricing and cross-selling strategies
- AI in Journalism
- Reducing Friction for Subscriptions.
More about Michael
Michael Ribero is the Chief Subscriptions Officer for The Washington Post. In this role, Michael oversees The Post’s digital subscriptions business and plays a vital role in The Post’s international growth. Michael works across marketing, product, analytics, finance, and news.
Michael Ribero joins The Washington Post from Paramount+, where he was Vice President of Global Marketing. Previously, he was General Manager of Brand and Media at Sling TV. Prior to Sling, Michael worked at Visa, and, earlier in his career, he was a technology investment banker, advising emerging technology companies on key growth initiatives.
Michael graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Engineering modified by Economics and an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Business at Northwestern University. He is happiest with his wife and 4 children either wearing cowboys or skiing in Colorado.
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The Washington Post on Google
[00:01:07]: Michael Ribero's transition to media industry
[00:03:16]: Washington Post's strategy for transitioning to digital and personalization efforts.
[00:10:34]: Delivering personalized experiences
[00:13:27]: Using data to inform monetization strategies
[00:16:09]: Experimenting with pricing and cross-selling strategies
[00:21:15]: AI in Journalism
[00:23:39]: Reducing Friction for Subscriptions.
[00:00:00.000] - Speaker 1
Welcome to the Subscription League, a podcast by Purchasely. Listen to what's working in subscription apps. In each episode, we invite leaders of the app industry who are mastering the subscription model for mobile apps. To learn more about subscriptions, head to subscriptionleague.com. Let's get started.
[00:00:21.220] - Olivier Destrebecq
Welcome to the show, everybody. Today I am with Jeff, co-founder of Purchasely, and Mike Ribero, Subscription Chief Officer at the Washington Post. Welcome to the show, Mike.
[00:00:32.640] - Michael Ribero
Thanks for having me. It's great to be here.
[00:00:34.090] - Olivier Destrebecq
Nice. You've been in the media industry for a long time, like the Sling TV, Viacom, CBS, and now you're at the Washington Post. What attracted you to that industry and keeps you in there, I guess, now?
[00:00:48.290] - Michael Ribero
Yeah, it's interesting. Before I went into media, I was in financial services. Financial services is interesting and important and also extremely boring. I'd like to say that everything's very regulated, you have to be very buttoned up. I think at times creativity isn't valued in the way it is in the media industry.
[00:01:07.320] - Michael Ribero
I'd love to say that I knew I was always going to work in the media industry. I lucked into it, to be honest. My wife and I were moving around. We were a young family. I just happened to land at Sling TV, and it was really the start of live linear TV over the Internet. I got in on the ground floor and haven't looked back since then.
[00:01:25.360] - Michael Ribero
Again, I think it's one of these things where when you look backwards, it all makes sense. But when you're in it, it was the best open door at the time. So I said, "Hey, why not? Let's give this a try."
[00:01:35.660] - Olivier Destrebecq
Go with the flow, it works.
[00:01:37.360] - Michael Ribero
Go with the flow, yeah.
[00:01:38.980] - Olivier Destrebecq
Speaking of going with the flow, the Washington Post, just like any other newspaper, has to transition from print to digital. Can you tell us more about what the strategy has been there for the Washington Post?
[00:01:53.180] - Michael Ribero
When I talk about our transition and where we're going, I talk about it... We're talking going with the flow. I use waves as an analogy. I was a California kid, and so I spent a little time surfing growing up. The first wave was really just going from only a physical paper, to a digital paper and a physical paper. We still deliver here locally in the DC area. We have a very established base, a very committed base. But there were individuals who preferred, whether it's the price point or just the form factor, going to digital. That also opened up. We overnight became a national paper.
[00:02:29.610] - Michael Ribero
The second wave was really Trump and COVID. We were selling hot dogs at a county fair and people couldn't get enough. Now I think about us in this third wave where we don't have the tailwinds in the same way that we did from 2020 and beyond.
[00:02:49.730] - Michael Ribero
Now, we really have to be good at what we do. Good product people, good UX people, good marketing people, good news people. We're in that transition now and it's hard. It's really hard, especially when people aren't paying for the news or there are so many free options out there. At the same time, some of the macroeconomic trends of people having to tighten the belt, credits not as well available. There are a lot of headwinds we face.
[00:03:16.670] - Michael Ribero
I think what we really believe is if we do certain things that I'll talk about, that will continue to be successful. I wish I could tell you, it starts with me, but it doesn't. It starts with our newsroom. I think the ultimate commitment, I think it's very liberating, is we ultimately recognize we serve the newsroom. And what we want to do is do things so our journalists can continue to do the best damn journalism in the world.
[00:03:41.070] - Michael Ribero
I think when you frame it like that, the team just rallies because so many people here are here because they believe in the things that we do. As we get into it, I think some of the themes that are really important for us, one is personalization. I think that means a lot of things to different people, but we want to personalize across the four P's of the marketing.
[00:04:03.820] - Michael Ribero
Definitely with the product, and the product, it's trying to get the right articles to the right people so they come back more, they read more, they spend more time on page. I would say this has been one of the most hotly debated topics. I come from streaming. In streaming, it was the given. This is what you go and do.
[00:04:21.230] - Michael Ribero
Here, there are a lot more ethical questions and a lot more nuances that we just haven't talked about. In talking with our newsroom, a lot of the pushback is we don't want to become an echo chamber. We don't want people to continue to go down their rabbit hole and push them to a further end of a political spectrum, that we potentially have this obligation to make sure people understand the totality of perspectives on an individual issue. And I like that. I think that's great.
[00:04:45.740] - Michael Ribero
We're doing that, but in the core product, in things that are a little more in the peripheral, whether it's with email and trying to recommend articles for people, push notifications, those sorts of things, really throughout the subscriber experience, we want to do it. I would say the other dimension of P that we're thinking about is, right now, we offer two subscription products and we're asking ourselves, "Is that the right thing to do?"
[00:05:09.560] - Michael Ribero
We're really pushing... I think one of the things that I've discovered here is, unlike streaming, streaming had a very long and flat demand curve. Ours is very short and very steep. So we're really thinking about, do we have the right product or the right price to be able to match that demand curve?
[00:05:27.680] - Olivier Destrebecq
What do you mean by it's very steep?
[00:05:30.150] - Michael Ribero
We have some people who are willing to pay, and they tell us this. It's not a trying to trick them or anything, but they say, "If you would charge me 10x what you're charging me, I would still pay." How we think about that versus an individual who we want to bring into the paying ecosystem who says, "Why would I ever pay for you? I can get it on Google News for free and I never have to pay."
[00:05:53.600] - Michael Ribero
Just seeing that there is such a wide disparity of type of people and willingness to pay. Things that we've thought about, and again, not too dissimilar from what a lot of other publishers are thinking about, but how do we make that first step into the paid ecosystem as small as possible? We've done some aggressive offers. We've gone as low as $0.99 a month for a year, which just very aggressive versus our retail price.
[00:06:20.240] - Michael Ribero
The other is we're also thinking about products that are just different, that are for a lighter user. We recently tested something called the Starter Pass. It's very much modeled after Class Pass where you buy access to not everything for an entire month. You buy access to five articles in one month. That's been great for us in terms of an incremental standpoint. We feel like it's bringing in more new customers and they're [inaudible 00:06:46] themselves into that product.
[00:06:48.240] - Jeff Grang
That's a lot of topic, and a lot of concerns, and a lot of things. I love the commitment that you have for making the best paper and the best articles in the world. That's great. Do you have any North Star Metric that you guys follow to engage all the company in the Washington Post?
[00:07:03.950] - Michael Ribero
Yeah. It's funny, we have a lot of arguments about this internally. Should it be one metric, should it be multiple metrics? I think we've taken more of a balanced scorecard approach where we think about several different metrics.
[00:07:15.710] - Michael Ribero
Ultimately, I would say, you hear we want to drive subscribers. I would say that's a lagging metric than a leading metric. Things that we think about otherwise in that scorecard is unique visitors to the site, leads. In 2023, we've done this push forward into more first-party data capture to really benefit the entirety of the enterprise.
[00:07:36.390] - Michael Ribero
Then similar engagement metrics to see the health of our base or our readers with how many times you're visiting in a month, how many people haven't visited in a month. Those are our typical ones.
[00:07:47.980] - Michael Ribero
From a quantitative perspective, I think we maybe more qualitative continue... Just going back to the journalism, we ask ourselves, "Are we doing the work that we want to be doing, too?" One I would point out, I know this is not necessarily a journalism talk, but so much of what we do is we published a very interesting portrayal of the AR-15 rifle here.
[00:08:11.860] - Michael Ribero
I think it's going around the table and saying, "Can we continue to do journalism that we think is right, delivers against the vision that we want?" Again, that's more of a survey, not necessarily a quantitative number, but very much guiding in all the things that we do.
[00:08:25.940] - Olivier Destrebecq
Is it some just the pulse of the team and how they feel about it? Or how do you approach that, making sure that you do the journalism that you want to do?
[00:08:33.610] - Michael Ribero
Mainly, our executive editor and our CEO. Again, when we have an executive meeting, I think when everyone around the table is congratulating our executive editor for the brave work that they do, whether it's in Ukraine or with this project in the AR-15. I think that's just a note of confidence that we are continuing to do the things that we should be doing.
[00:08:57.090] - Olivier Destrebecq
Yeah. Earlier, you started telling us a little bit about the personalisation effort that you guys are putting in. Can you tell us more about it? What are you personalising around your content, potentially within your subscription offering?
[00:09:11.740] - Michael Ribero
Back in 2021, we adopted a customer data platform. We had some databases internally, but that's really been an unlock for us in the things that we do. We work with a company called ActionIQ, and they've just been a wonderful partner in getting us up to speed and really doing some exciting things.
[00:09:29.900] - Michael Ribero
We've started with journeys, and I would say, like our second wave of the post, because of the broader climate of news with Trump and COVID, we only had to talk about one thing. Now, when there's no longer one main topic that's dominating the conversation, you're starting to see people go down different rabbit holes and be interested in different things.
[00:09:54.130] - Michael Ribero
Again, very much from a cohort basis, but it's not all COVID and it's not all Trump. What we're trying to do is follow the reader down those places. It's easier. We've done these, I would say, an example of it is we just revamped our subscriber onboarding.
[00:10:10.530] - Michael Ribero
Before, we were essentially doing one email, we knew there were some high value actions. Again, probably not too similar to too many publishers out there. Download the app, come back a few times in the first week, read different sections.
[00:10:22.810] - Michael Ribero
And that was all put into one email. There was no intelligence behind, "Well, did someone actually do this?" And if they did, say, they downloaded the app, but they didn't read different sections, what happens then? And it would just be the same for people.
[00:10:34.420] - Michael Ribero
Now, we're able to deliver different experiences based on those things. Not too different in where we want to go, in terms of a lot of these high-value actions that I message, but we just feel the specificity in which we can get someone to do that next action, acknowledging the things that they've done before. It's resonated really well from a tension standpoint, from an engagement standpoint. So we're trying to take that model and just duplicate it in a bunch of different user journeys.
[00:11:04.050] - Jeff Grang
That's a great asset that digital offers is this ability to customize the experience when you compare it to the paper. If you just, once again, another transition that happened from paper to digital is also the switch that we have been witnessed at Purchasely.
[00:11:18.390] - Jeff Grang
First party, because we launched our services three years ago, and I think it was, at least in Europe, during the wave, a huge wave in the media from switching from advertising to subscriptions. What has changed for you during that? What have you experienced? What's your opinion on this, switching from this one business model to another? If you have any insights on what you prefer, how is it more complex or simpler compared to the previous model? I'd love to hear you speak about that.
[00:11:46.740] - Michael Ribero
I mean, just given my title, I would say subscriptions all the way. No, but seriously, to me, we're very much committed to be a dual stream organization. I think we've started to unlock the virtuous cycle that happens with subscriber and advertising. Again, I would borrow from streaming in...
[00:12:02.310] - Michael Ribero
The world went from linear TV where you would essentially buy a channel that you thought had certain demos, to now addressable TV with connected TV where you could target the working professional in a certain city. I see us following that same path and even going above and beyond it.
[00:12:18.550] - Michael Ribero
There's been an enterprise wide commitment to first party data and then actioning against it. I was actually in a meeting yesterday and we're talking about our roadmap for our first party data capture. And it's bringing together our ads team, our subscription team, our product team, and our newsroom team to say, "What is that next novel piece of data we think we can capture? And how would we ultimately monetize it, whether that be from subscriber revenue or from ad revenue?"
[00:12:46.470] - Michael Ribero
Again, I think we just see overlap. One thing that we're kicking around is we did a test where we asked readers, what time of day do they prefer to read. We've captured that data to help... It helps with day partying and advertising. It helps us what time should we send emails or newsletters. All of those things.
[00:13:06.390] - Michael Ribero
I think there's probably 5, 6, 10 more data points that we want to do that. I think the only thing we want to keep in mind is, ultimately, the reader is going to be the champion and tell us if we're going too far or not far enough. And how do we continue to make sure that whatever data we ask for them, there's something we can give them in return.
[00:13:27.330] - Michael Ribero
It could be as easy as access to an article or it could be as sophisticated as if you give us what profession you're in, we're going to start to send you a monitoring email on if there's any big developments in that. A lot of triangulation and ultimately a lot of cross-collaboration across different functions, but we do think we're starting to unlock that virtuous cycle.
[00:13:48.180] - Jeff Grang
Okay, so you enrich basically your CRM, thanks to surveys that will unlock content. That's nice.
[00:13:53.790] - Michael Ribero
Yeah. What's helped us, too, I think, is we're now to the point where we're on pretty much individual-level customer lifetime values that have both an advertising component and subscriber reader revenue component. We can understand how do we want to treat this individual based on their profitability? Do we want to give them a richer or less rich offer?
[00:14:17.040] - Michael Ribero
If they're a super reader, we know they're going to drive a lot of paid dues and ultimately be very valuable from an advertising standpoint. Again, I go back to building this as we continue to build our database and first-party data. We just see that as the unlock that's going to push the entire enterprise forward.
[00:14:33.920] - Olivier Destrebecq
You've told us how you're getting more data about your customer and how you're moving forward. I'm curious what has been your strategy around pricing, especially that you know that some of your customers are willing to pay a lot more. Then at the other end of the spectrum, you told us about those people that are like, "Hey, I want free news." What have you been experimenting with?
[00:14:52.650] - Michael Ribero
It's a great question. I will say when I first started, one of the first things I proposed when I started is we run the most aggressive sale on Black Friday that we've ever done. I think people looked at me like I was crazy. They're like, "Who is this guy that you guys brought in?" Of course, our CFO isn't terribly happy.
[00:15:08.940] - Michael Ribero
I think the promotion was successful, and then we were able to see how people behave over the course of the year. I think there is very much thinking that a lot of times, sales customers or customers that come on a promotion, especially really low promotion, are poor. And we just haven't seen that.
[00:15:25.380] - Michael Ribero
Yes, there are some really bad ones. Don't get me wrong, there's some really bad actors. They come in and it's basically a single article purchase. But there's some that are not. And there's some that ultimately become really good and really profitable customers. I think pushing down how low we were able to go was one. The other was pushing how high we can go. That's what ultimately put a smile on our CFO's face.
[00:15:44.450] - Michael Ribero
Last year, we did our first price increase, too. We raised our retail rate by two dollars, but that was pushed across the entirety of the base. Again, I think we have exceeded expectations in what we thought would be retention because of it. Ultimately, it's the right thing to do, but there is a potential large risk on volume. We're just not seeing that materialize, that people were more than willing to support.
[00:16:09.160] - Michael Ribero
Again, to me, it just goes back to the quality of the journalism. It helped, and we didn't just raise prices, we were thoughtful about it. We were launching new sections. It was like, "Hey, we're launching these new sections, that's why we think it's the right time to raise prices." And use it also as a chance to merchandise to our readers, "Hey, look at all this new great stuff that we're relaunching and we're going to do so in a more concerted effort." That helped.
[00:16:35.620] - Michael Ribero
I would say, up and down the demand curve, we played with the ends of the spectrum. And then the other one horizontal, in the sense is we started to test with bundles. We did a synthetic bundle, essentially two products for a certain price, with Headspace.
[00:16:49.720] - Michael Ribero
Headspace is a mental health wellness app, and that's been interesting. It's been really interesting because it's gotten us into new corners of users that maybe wouldn't have thought about paying us before but would have paid for another app. That's been an interesting learning for us and I think something we'll continue to do.
[00:17:05.400] - Jeff Grang
Did it help fighting the anxiety of the news?
[00:17:08.030] - Michael Ribero
Yeah, exactly. It's the nice, the yin and the yang of... Work yourself up reading the news and then calm yourself down afterwards. This is how you get back to a base level.
[00:17:18.380] - Jeff Grang
Great. You were mentioning that you had a raise of two dollars. Did you do that on all the channels, paper and digital, and all digital channels too?
[00:17:27.210] - Michael Ribero
Just in digital, we manage paper and digital as separate P&Ls. The paper has done price increases historically. There is a model there that we have taken after.
[00:17:38.180] - Jeff Grang
You manage them in separate streams, but do you have any communications? Or do you do specific cross-selling, or maybe churn retention operation between newspapers and the digital?
[00:17:50.990] - Michael Ribero
Yes. It's a very delicate dance. On one, the papers are profitable, more profitable than a digital subscriber. We don't essentially instigate people switching to a lower price, lower profitability product. However, we've done a lot to, what I would say, is keep people in the family. If we know someone is going to unsubscribe from the paper product offering digital as this softer off-ramp or softer landing of, "Hey, you can keep it just for a lower price if pricing is the issue."
[00:18:20.580] - Michael Ribero
We've also gone back. I would say any of the former customers that were once a paper, we continue to target from a digital perspective through win back and whether it be a variety of channels, direct mail. We've done direct mail, we've done email, we've done paid media.
[00:18:34.420] - Michael Ribero
We believe those are some of our best leads. Maybe probably the best leads is someone who has decided, "I really like the paper, maybe the price just isn't right anymore." So we feel like we offer a very tangible, a very immediate solution for those people.
[00:18:48.740] - Michael Ribero
And we're starting to build products, commerce flows to those, so that transition is getting easier and easier. You don't have to go and resign back up. We can essentially just transfer your account. A lot of times that requires a human being and we're trying to take the human being out of it.
[00:19:03.000] - Olivier Destrebecq
Yeah, automating is always nice, improving customer experience. What are some of the big challenges that you're tackling now?
[00:19:09.420] - Michael Ribero
From us, I would say it's very much macro. Tightening credit, so people are trimming down their subscription portfolio. I think the streamers are definitely feeling it. But really, the entirety of the subscription world, free is always hard to beat. More directly in my world, I would say, not necessarily struggling, but privacy is becoming just a greater portion of all of our conversations.
[00:19:35.480] - Michael Ribero
Here in the US, we're definitely lagging from a legislation standpoint, but legislation is coming, whether it's California, New York, Virginia. It's being approached on a state-by-state basis, which makes it hard for teams and work to ultimately organize. We have this patchwork of solutions that we're doing, and then it's changing, and so we're having to update and update. I'd say that's a big one.
[00:19:57.990] - Michael Ribero
The second is, just I think maybe a lot of people trying to figure out the right working environments in today's world.
[00:20:04.950] - Olivier Destrebecq
This COVID situation.
[00:20:06.530] - Michael Ribero
Yeah, exactly. How much is in office? How much is out of office? How do we build connections as individuals? How do we stay motivated? I think, again, going back to the purpose of making the news happen or us providing the financial means to make the news happen is, if that's the driving factor, a lot of people making sure people have exposure to the newsroom, that they get to see the various things that the newsroom does and continue to provide motivation.
[00:20:32.130] - Michael Ribero
And then lastly, I would just say is accommodating and understanding changes in technology. One, from a platform consumption standpoint. We have one of the best TikTok channels with Dave Jorgenson, and his team, probably in the world. Ultimately, how do we use that as a lure to get people back to the site and consume in, and ultimately paying on our site versus TikTok? Always a difficult conversation.
[00:20:55.450] - Michael Ribero
I'll tell you, my past two weeks, the amount of conversations that we've had on generative AI is mind-blowing. It's spectacular and terrifying all at the same time. That's been really interesting about what is going to come there. And just, how do we get ahead, what role do we play? How can we monetize it? Those have been some really interesting conversations recently.
[00:21:15.710] - Olivier Destrebecq
It seems like AI is on everyone's mind these days.
[00:21:19.500] - Jeff Grang
Yeah. Especially generative AI for journalism is really something. There's a lot of questions to ask. Even for us developers, it's really something, and we are looking into it, how it can help us have more productivity and what are the risk and all the copyright issues because all the code that's been available for free for everyone on this platform as type of a flow, etc, is used and resolved to us through another channel, so you can also question that.
[00:21:45.850] - Jeff Grang
That's a really interesting shake up for everyone. That must have been great to leave that being you, Mike, and having to share all this question with the newsroom and all the journalists, etc. That must be an amazing moment, yet scary, I guess, but very amazing moment to live.
[00:22:02.990] - Michael Ribero
Yeah, all at the same time. You see some of the possibilities, and I think one of the ones that I'm most interested in, I know it's way out there, but some of these with the deep fakes, but essentially we want to get more video in the app. We think people are used to video, consuming mobile video, really very much ala TikTok. I think you start to see other major apps like Spotify moving to that more video or at least short video format.
[00:22:24.900] - Michael Ribero
If AI could essentially take someone's voice likeness and image likeness and then make it so someone doesn't actually have to film. Now, our journalists are reading their stories, reading out, putting quotation marks because it's a computer doing it. Some of those features just seem fascinating. It would be great for us from a disruption standpoint.
[00:22:46.230] - Michael Ribero
But once you open that door, do you ever go back? What are the implications further? We're definitely thinking about it a lot. Again, I don't think we have a firm handle on what happens, but when you start to see some of the possibilities, it gets you really excited.
[00:23:00.210] - Jeff Grang
Yeah, and trustability of the news, and your position, and the position of every newspaper that is trusted out there is going to be really important in the next future, so you'd better figure out how to monetize correctly so that we [crosstalk 00:23:12].
[00:23:12.600] - Michael Ribero
No pressure. Thank you.
[00:23:15.030] - Jeff Grang
Yeah, no pressure. Not at all.
[00:23:16.450] - Olivier Destrebecq
We'll call you back in a week.
[00:23:17.780] - Jeff Grang
I wanted to ask you because we know that subscription is a copycat industry. We see these recipes taken from one industry using another one, etc. And Mike, right now you are going to deliver your greatest secret or secret sauce, maybe. I'd like to ask you, what would be the one thing that newspapers should copy or maybe other apps should copy from the Washington Post when it comes to subscription?
[00:23:39.830] - Michael Ribero
I don't want to give all the secrets, but one that's been, I think, really interesting to me.
[00:23:44.210] - Jeff Grang
[00:23:46.880] - Michael Ribero
If you take me out, maybe. Maybe after a beverage or something like that.
[00:23:50.310] - Jeff Grang
Okay, let's go to this one.
[00:23:51.570] - Michael Ribero
I would say the one unlock, again, tactical change, but to me, it's been a huge unlock. Really thinking about the form in which people consume and or transact. Ultimately, looking back, this is just a, of course, type of tactic. The vast majority of people that buy from us have an iPhone. They will transact on an iPhone. We tested Apple Pay as the default payment.
[00:24:18.070] - Michael Ribero
Just in terms of the conversion versus control was just out of this world. I mean, I want to say 20 plus percent. That, to me, was just like, you think about it, after you've paid with Apple Pay a couple of times, you double click the side of your phone and then you've transacted. That was such an unlock for us, especially as we...
[00:24:35.990] - Michael Ribero
I'd say thematically, one thing that I'm thinking about is how do we make the purchase, especially when you're reading on a mobile phone, maybe you have a few minutes in between break or whatever it is, how do we make that an impulse buy? And how do we help facilitate an impulse buy? And then that at least gives us a little bit of a runway to convince you, "No, actually, we're more than just an impulse buy. We're something that you need every single day."
[00:24:57.730] - Michael Ribero
Maybe it's that one story that hooks you in. When you think about the Apple Pay experience, it's see an article, hit a paywall, two clicks, and now you're reading and you've already paid versus see the paywall, click to another screen, pull out your credit card. All of a sudden it's like, "I don't have the time. I don't want to do it. This is a pain in the ass." That was a huge unlock for us. And I think that theme we're continuing to take forward is how do we...
[00:25:24.410] - Michael Ribero
Again, if we think the core of the product is the journalism and it's getting people to journalism as fast as possible, how do we make the rest of the peripheral as easy as possible? I just say that goes for the exit as well. I know there's been a lot of push and to your point on people copying of adding friction in the cancelation process and making it harder to cancel.
[00:25:46.650] - Michael Ribero
I think we've very much, some by choice, some by legislation, but we've seen it as an opportunity to have another really delight in a customer experience because at some point, we know that customer is going to come back and we're going to win that customer back.
[00:25:59.440] - Michael Ribero
And we feel like if it's a bad experience coming out, that likelihood that they're ever going to come back is low. And if we can make it easy, continue to add value with other things like pause or continuing to send you articles that at some point you're going to say, "You know what? I missed that. I'm going to come back."
[00:26:17.930] - Michael Ribero
Again, I think thematically, it's just like, get the heck out of the way of the journalism. Make all that other stuff as easy, as seamless as possible. And we think we're going to have people who want to stay and continue to pay for the post.
[00:26:30.400] - Jeff Grang
Yeah, right. Exactly. I mean, one click payment from Amazon. And in-app purchases is also exactly the same flow that you're describing with the Apple Pay flow on the website, mobile or desktop. Definitely, it really reduces the friction that you have. It's a really seamless integration that's very smart, and 20% plus.
[00:26:49.670] - Michael Ribero
Don't quote me on that, but it's somewhere in that. It was astonishing, and it was amazing. It was immediate, too. I'd say we have a very... I may be the optimist and/or the person that will see test results 18 hours into the test and be like, "Oh, look how amazing it is. Let's go do it."
[00:27:07.910] - Michael Ribero
Or much more thoughtful product team or marketing team will say, "Okay, Mike, it's only been 18 hours. Let's at least wait two weeks before you get too excited." I like to jump on those sorts of things, but it was day one and the results held.
[00:27:22.150] - Jeff Grang
[00:27:23.210] - Olivier Destrebecq
You've provided a lot of value here and I'm sure our listeners will want to learn more about what you do at the Washington Post and maybe even about the Washington Post itself. Where can people go find you?
[00:27:36.070] - Michael Ribero
Yeah, email, firstname.lastname@example.org or LinkedIn. I had to say one thing I've really admired about being part of the publishing industry is just how collaborative everyone has been. People are willing to share a whole bunch about things that have worked, that haven't worked. It seems like ultimately, whether it's your individual publication, people really want the industry to survive.
[00:27:59.930] - Michael Ribero
Now with things coming under pressure, that's just been so inspiring, so great. Anything I need you to pay it back, absolutely. Even if it's just to shoot the breeze for a while, too. Please email or LinkedIn.
[00:28:12.980] - Olivier Destrebecq
It was more than shoot the breeze, you gave us a lot of info. Well, thank you very much for joining us. It was really awesome. You had some great insights. That was awesome. Thank you.
[00:28:23.020] - Jeff Grang
Thanks a lot, Mike.
[00:28:23.870] - Michael Ribero
Thank you. Thanks for having me.
[00:28:25.320] - Speaker 1
On behalf of the Purchasely team, thank you for listening to the Subscription League podcast. If you've enjoyed what you heard, leave us a five star review on iTunes or other audio platform. To find out more about Purchasely and how we can improve your subscription business, visit purchasely.com.
[00:28:41.400] - Speaker 1
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