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Home » Tech platform aims to quadruple publisher revenue in tough economic climate

Tech platform aims to quadruple publisher revenue in tough economic climate

Let’s take a close look at some global projections. According to Goldman Sachs, UK’s 2023 GDP might plunge 1.2%, relative to Russia’s 1.3%, as household living standards take a hit. The US will expand by 1% in 2023, and Germany will contract 0.6%. 38-member intergovernmental organisation OECD predicts the UK will fall behind developed nations, closer to Russia than G-7.

“Even news publishers might see a dip in ad revenue and retake a hit, and so will subscription revenue as household living standards fall,” says Sunny Sen, CEO of, a no-code subscription management and analytics firm, which has already delivered impressive results in India, and has helped publisher partners achieve 4X revenue growth at one-fourth the existing cost.

“India is a demanding market. They want great technology delivered at low cost, especially because it’s difficult to make reader revenue, and CPMs are quite low,” says Sen in a recent interview with Press Gazette. “It is in our DNA to deliver great technology and unparalleled insights at an ultra-low cost.”

As a former journalist at respected publications like The Economic Times, Hindustan Times, and India Today, Sen has seen firsthand the challenges that publishers face, inspiring him to found

“Our platform delivers deep analytics that provides data-driven insights across user behavior, content, and revenue. This allows publishers to create multiple monetisation opportunities using a combination of micropayments to subscription to advertising and optimise their content for maximum engagement, thus maximising revenue,” says Sen.

Based on the insights, publishers can create a personalised approach to improve the subscription business. “I have always been a great believer in data-driven decision-making, and my background in creating print, digital, and television content gives us an edge,” he said.

Sen’s passion for exploring how readers and viewers interact with various types of content motivated him to shift Conscent’s direction. Rather than solely functioning as a micropayment company, the platform helps clients understand their readers’ behavior, monitor the days and times they consume content, increase revenue, and build viable subscription models. It also enables them to analyse the most popular stories, make personalised recommendations, take micropayments, and develop paywall and subscription landing pages.

Fear of the unknown

When building an online subscription business, publishers ask themselves myriad questions. What will happen to page views? How many people will subscribe? When do they buy a subscription, and which stories are most likely to drive conversions? Which paywall works, and which subscription landing page gets the highest revenue?

While many subscription platforms lack comprehensive user insights, Sen believes that subscription management alone falls short. Instead, he sees it as a journey that encompasses personalized user acquisition, analyzing content performance, tracking user behavior leading up to conversion, gauging post-purchase engagement, predicting user retention, maintaining commitment, identifying the most engaging content, and devising strategies to retain users beyond just content.

“Imagine one platform doing all of this for you and costing one-fourth of a regular subscription management platform,” says Sen. “Technology is magical, the way it can empower publishers to acquire subscribers and increase user lifetime value.”

[Unlock the full potential of your publication with ConsCent’s comprehensive suite of analytics and monetisation tools. Contact now]

Data insight to help publishers grow revenue

The data available through the platform provides a fascinating insight into how readers and viewers engage with a publication’s content and how everything can be monetised.

For example, publishers can establish how long returning users spend on different stories and which have lower exit rates, meaning readers are likelier to stay on the site. Or, just segment visitors based on the number of times they saw a paywall before becoming a subscriber, which allows publishers to optimise the paywalling journey.

“These tools are essential because newsrooms are not technology builders,” said Sen. “Either you focus on building technology or your focus on creating content. You can’t be a master of both.”

They enable publishers to focus on the most critical elements of their business models, whether ad revenue, subscription numbers, or simply producing better journalism.

Armed with undeniable data, editors can also investigate why certain pieces of content perform better than others. Was it written better? Are the graphics more precise? Does the headline need to be clarified?

However, the biggest benefit of ConsCent is arguably when the system is up and running, as that’s when the analytical tools come into play. Users can also be targeted based on interests, location, online behavior, and purchasing habits.

Bringing departments together

“ConsCent works on the premise there should be only one data stream providing extremely well-defined, elaborate insights and analytics into users and content,” explained Sen.

This is a key element of the proposition. Sen’s journalistic background means he understands the importance of balancing the needs of various departments within publishing groups.

It has long been a cause of friction in the industry since the pre-digital days when editorial and advertising teams often worked independently.

Even today, marketing, editorial, and subscription teams may use their own data solutions in isolation, whereas Sen champions the idea of everyone working together.

“You need a more holistic approach to find out what subscribers are reading, which content has the most engagement time, and what can be put behind a paywall,” he explained.

If the entire company can access the same information, he pointed out, it improves their chances of producing content that engages readers and increases revenue.

For example, editorial teams can focus on producing more popular stories, while marketing teams can make recommendations on social media platforms to help drive traffic.

Those responsible for subscriptions, meanwhile, can get insights into readers and explore ways of making them pay for content.

[Unlock the full potential of your publication with ConsCent’s comprehensive suite of analytics and monetisation tools. Contact now]

It’s all about customer-centricity

Sen emphasises the significance of a personalized approach when collaborating with publishers. During onboarding, he conducts in-depth discussions to identify their goals and objectives, such as whether they intend to implement a paywall or generate revenue through alternative means while keeping their content free. Unlike many competitors who offer a standard set of products, Sen invests at least ten days to understand the publication’s needs and preferences comprehensively. “We prioritise understanding our clients at a granular level,” he explained.

Once a publisher integrates ConsCent into their website or app, it gets access to all the various analytical tools on the platform.

“They will have their dashboards so they can log on and see what’s going on at any time,” added Sen. “We also offer a range of customizable templates to suit their needs.”

Paywall myths

According to Sen, many UK publishers need help finding the most effective paywall and subscription management methods. He notes that the problem lies in the availability of free information and the editorial staff’s inability to produce profitable content that attracts subscribers.

Furthermore, Sen rejects the notion that paywalls inevitably result in declining visitor numbers. He argues that traffic can increase if only a small percentage of content is placed behind a paywall while simultaneously promoting other content.

“Paywalls should be customized for specific user groups and offer targeted discounts to incentivise them to access the content they desire,” argues Sen. However, he recognises that a paywall may not suit every publication but highlights that ConsCent’s data can still provide value by opening up alternative solutions. 

For example, he proposes loyalty schemes that offer users points for logging in, which can be redeemed for discounts on subscriptions or access to premium content such as webinars.

Micropayments and Subscriptions

According to Sen, there is a common misconception that micropayments compete with subscriptions. “If used correctly, micropayments can be a valuable tool in combating stagnation in subscription revenue.”

There are different approaches to implementing micropayments, ranging from offering them immediately on non-premium content to using them as part of a personalized journey toward a subscription offer. For example, a user who has made a few micropayments could be presented with a personalized paywall with a more enticing subscription offer.

Publishers can also create various user cohorts, such as allowing anonymous users to use micropayments while personalising long-term subscription offerings for registered users. By analyzing user behavior, publishers can determine when to offer micropayments or subscriptions to different user groups.

In addition, publishers can use micropayments to entice registered users who have repeatedly avoided the subscription paywall. For instance, offering a limited-period subscription at a discounted rate after the user pays for a specific story on micropayments.

Sen believes that subscription management companies must focus on developing innovative products that consider the publisher’s perspective and user journeys. This approach can lead to better combinations of events and more effective solutions for publishers.

The news industry needs a radical tech shift

Sen’s focus has been on developing solutions for the Indian market, but the long-term plan is to expand overseas. “Conscent is now taking steps to enter the global market and conversing with international publishers.”

According to Sen, the world needs a modern tech stack approach to subscriptions and analytics, and he is surprised that the news industry has been reluctant to embrace the digital transformation that has occurred in many other sectors.

“It (media) needs to go through the same radical shift that’s been happening in fintech, education, airlines, and retail,” he said. “There is so much that can be done.”

[Unlock the full potential of your publication with ConsCent’s comprehensive suite of analytics and monetisation tools. Contact ]

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