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Using AI to predict what should go behind a paywall

For many publications, including Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.), subscriptions are increasingly important to maintaining a healthy bottom line. Known for its in-depth coverage, the German-language daily reaches 148 countries and 17.3 million readers each month. F.A.Z. operates what's known as a freemium paywall. Some articles are free, while others can only be accessed with…

For many publications, including Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.), subscriptions are increasingly important to maintaining a healthy bottom line. Known for its in-depth coverage, the German-language daily reaches 148 countries and 17.3 million readers each month. F.A.Z. operates what’s known as a freemium paywall. Some articles are free, while others can only be accessed with a paid subscription. Those subscriptions generate crucial revenue, so to continue producing quality news, F.A.Z. needs its paywall to convert as many readers as possible into subscribers.

According to Nico Wilfer, Chief Product Officer at F.A.Z., subscriptions are highly important due to their business goal to achieve 300,000 sustainable digital subscribers by 2025. Together with the Google News Initiative, F.A.Z were able to realize some of its innovative project ideas, and thereby got closer to reaching the goal.

F.A.Z. established an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML)-driven solution for one of their most critical areas of their business: subscriptions. The tool, developed with the support of the Google News Initiative, delivers their editors predictions on which articles will work best behind the paywall.

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