Edouard Andrieu, product development director at Le Monde Interactif, was one of the speakers at IFRA's Mobile Media Day Conference held in Amsterdam on 21 April. The strategy of the French daily regarding its website relies on a good mixture of free and subscription-based content that has proved to be effective (Note: Le Monde.fr attracts 4 million unique visitors per month and has 95,000 subscribers). Now, Le Monde.fr wants to mimic this success with its already well-received iPhone application, which launched in December 2008.
“We are planning to develop a subscription model for our iPhone application based on our Le Monde.fr website concept,” Andrieu said. “When a person accesses our site, he or she is presented with all the information that is available for free and last-minute information. But we have as well a subscription area where users can have access to more services, in-depth coverage and multimedia coverage, premium information... All this kind of special content that complements our free content.”
Concretely, Le Monde Interactif wants its mobile application to have some add-on services for those users who pay for a subscription to its site. “This is the direction we want to go,” Andrieu said. “The idea is to extend our subscribers’ experience on their iPhone, to offer the most seamless experience possible from web to mobile.”
Asked about possibly jeopardising the success they have had with their iPhone application, Andrieu is confident that this will not happen: “If you go to our site, you will see that we promote our subscription area pretty gently. So, users can have a very good experience and visit when they only want to access our free content, but at the same time they will know at every moment that there is much more they could have access to, just in case they want to get it. And so should it be in the iPhone as well.”
Exploiting the iPhone as an advertising platform is also a main priority for Le Monde.fr. Philippe Jannet, CEO of Le Monde Interactif, disclosed during a seminar of the IFRA eNews group that Apple France will run an advertising campaign for Le Monde.fr’s iPhone application, basically saying in the ad: “Now you can read Le Monde.fr on your iPhone.”
Cartier also has decided in favour of it and will run a campaign in the near future. The key, according to Andrieu, is to market and monetise this platform in a clever way. Therefore, Le Monde Interactif is selling advertising space based on time rates, i.e. on the number of days the ad will appear in the application instead of doing it based on visits, downloads and similar figures. As Andrieu pointed out, no one wants to make the same mistake that was made with the early online business, i.e. sell a new platform for less money than it deserves.