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The Times signs up to AI to drive subscriptions as publishers turn to targeted e-newsletters


Newspapers The Times and The Sunday Times, pioneers in the world of publishing, are embracing AI to power subscription revenue.

The brands have signed with Phrasee for optimised email subject line generation for email marketing campaigns. This forms part of a brand-wide shift to embrace and work with new technologies.

Phrasee’s AI technology generates and optimises marketing copy at scale. The Times and The Sunday Times are using this brand-tailored application of AI for use in optimising subject lines in email campaigns to drive a continued increase in subscription figures. The technology produced positive results in email open rates of up to 23% per email campaign send during the test phase.

“Phrasee’s AI is transforming how The Times speaks to its customers,” says Parry Malm, CEO of Phrasee. “Creating ‘on-brand’ marketing copy is critical to our proposition and arguably The Times and The Sunday Times as highly respected national newspapers would always have been our harshest critics. We are super proud to have the endorsement of such powerhouses in publishing.”

“Collaboration with Phrasee is a great fit for us,” said Tom Lowe, Digital Trading Manager at The Times and The Sunday Times. “Phrasee delivers a solution that helps ensure we stand out in a crowded market. In our experience, it’s a fast fix to email campaign performance, delivering more opens, clicks, and conversions. Yet, in learning over time, it also improves on ROI in the long run.”

Commenting on the benefits of brands turning to new technologies for improved results, Malm continued: “The concept is a simple one. If you are able to garner more opens per email campaign through optimised email subject lines and drive engagement as a result, brands can expect an increase in revenue from the respective channel. We are proud to work with some of the most trailblazing marketers on the planet.”

Phrasee has developed a Natural Language Generation system, working to increase revenue from digital marketing campaigns. It uses end-to-end Deep Learning that looks at thousands of linguistic parameters to predict the performance of marketing copy. It provides a predictive tool that gives digital marketers enhanced confidence that they are selecting marketing copy that will result in more views, and thereby more sales.

The news comes as INMA (International News Media Association) publishes a report that publishers are increasingly turning to targeted newsletters to to promote frequency of usage among digital subscribers and prospective subscribers.

The report, “How Newsletters Are Redefining Media Subscriptions”, outlines trends and best practices among news media companies aiming to maximize reader revenue through retention and engagement. The report surfaces key best practices in newsletters from subject matter to style to volume and how best to segment content in a dense ecosystem.



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