Form Data to Impact: the NZZ Case

Guest lecture NZZ
Have you ever wondered why the NZZ suggests certain articles to you and not to others? Want to understand why some NZZ articles are behind a paywall while others are free to access? Cristina Kadar, Senior Data Scientist at the NZZ, gave a guest lecture to our EMBA Class 29 students and provided an exciting insight into a real-life example of data management.

The journalism industry has changed. Purchases of physical newspapers have been declining for years, shifting news consumption to online platforms. New business models are needed to ensure that media professionals continue to be remunerated for their work. In response to this, the NZZ has introduced a subscription-based business model.

This new business model is based on sophisticated data analysis and management: Customers receive tailored article suggestions and, depending on the user, the articles are either behind a paywall or not. This so-called dynamic paywall calculates the probability of a person subscribing to the NZZ. The paywalls depend on this probability. The probability, on the other hand, depends on several factors, such as the frequency of access to the NZZ website, the duration of the access or the last visit to the website.

In addition to the elaborate system for determining when to implement the paywall, the NZZ also has a data-driven system to decide which articles are suggested to whom. Again, several methods were tested and compared: Display articles by the same author as those already read? Suggest articles on the same topic? Show articles that other people with similar interests have read? The best method ultimately decides which articles are displayed to you.

All in all, effective data management has empowered NZZ to establish a novel business model,  providing personalized packages for their customers. It serves as a practical example of the use of data analysis in a managerial setting.

Have we piqued your interest? Dive deeper into Business Analytics and other topics covered in our dual-degree EMBA Program.