Data-sharing project DRIVE aims to help publishers build digital revenue

Organised by German press agency dpa and consultancy firm Schickler, the DRIVE (Digital Revenue Initiative) project was launched in 2020, and now comprises 20 independent publishers.

“The basic motivation to start this initiative was that we all felt that we are lagging behind in building significant digital revenue,” said Meinolf Ellers, Chief Digital Officer at dpa, Germany, during WAN-IFRA’s recent Digital Media India Conference.

“Here in Europe, Scandinavian publishers like Schibsted and Bonnier were first in saying to ‘get rid of digital advertising strategies because they are only good for the platforms. We are not generating the revenue we need to monetise and refinance our newsrooms.’ So they made a big strategic shift to rediscover reader revenue, build the paywalls and start to convert people into digital subscribers. We are following the same path.”

In the first phase of DRIVE, Schickler’s data team built a data warehouse, which stores the anonymised usage data of the different publishers. Using an open source tracking tool integrated on the publishers’ website, usage, content, and subscription data is being recorded and fed into the warehouse, which currently contains some eight billion data points.

“This, of course, is a fantastic basis to train algorithms in order to analyse this data,” Ellers said.
120 dashboards to help benchmark performance
Participating publishers have access to some 120 dashboards, enabling them to benchmark their performance …

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