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Digital > 14.2 Information Site

Vrij Nederland

by Digital Natives

Vrij Nederland (VN) is one of the leading Dutch publishers. Their heritage is big but they are struggling to evolve from a weekly magazine towards a relevant medium in the digital age. VN asked us to help them increase their online relevance and grow their digital platform.
Publishers worldwide are having a hard time adjusting to digital world. Especially publishers that focus on investigative journalism. Unfortunately there are no easy solutions or blueprints for how to succeed. This means that every publisher is on its own and has to experiment and pivot their way into a successful digital business model. We believe the only way to do is, is to set up a system for experimentation and data based learning within the publishers organisation. 
We set up a service design project where we invited 1200 readers to co-create and beta test the platform while we where building it. 17 readers where invited to in-depth interviews.  
Within VN we created an agile team that tests innovative ideas on the platform. 
The first experiment was creating a never ending article feed on the homepage and article page. This means that articles follow each other when people view them from their Facebook or Twitter feed. Which accounted for 55% of all traffic. The never ending feed of articles has to seduce brief visitors from social channels to stay longer. The second experiment was to integrate a micropayment system (via Blendle) to pay for and read long articles with just one click. We continue to evolve the platform on a weekly basis. 
Six months after the launch of the new Vrij Nederland platform we managed to increase the amount of sessions by 34%, the number of users by 19% and pageviews by 91%. This is due to the new article feed. The time-on-site has therefore also increased by 1.8 minutes per session. We also managed to sell 17.3% more subscriptions and we created a new revenue stream by letting people pay for articles with micropayments. In the first months we sold 4000-8000 articles per month.

  • Creative Directors Joost Krijnen
  • Art Directors Jaer Pollux
  • Designers Jaer Pollux, Joost Krijnen
  • Illustrators /
  • Photographers /
  • Editors Vrij Nederland
  • Copywriters Vrij Nederland
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