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Brands are turning towards a new revenue stream: Wine

Publishers and brands are turning to unchartered territory in the wine market to keep readers engaged, and paying. So far, it seems to be working.

The Takeaways:
  • A number of media brands branching are out of traditional print advertising revenue streams since financial strain has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • Norway’s Dagens Næringsliv has achieved one of the highest conversion rates per article from free to paid this year by building a brand around wine journalist Merete Bø, and putting her wine reviews behind the paywall.
  • Cosmopolitan Magazine has launched a wine brand: Uncorked by Cosmo. In partnership with California-based Guarachi Wine Vineyards, it has four varieties on offer — rose, chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon. Each bottle is priced at $14.99 and will be exclusively available at
A new way to reach consumers

Brands and advertisers are looking for new ways to reach consumers. Here’s how these two companies did it.

Launching at the right time:

  • Wine sales in Norway have skyrocketed this year.
  • “Wine is a logical thing for us to make for our consumer regardless…but honestly between the pandemic and the election there feels like no better time than now to provide it,” Nancy Berger, publisher of Cosmopolitan, told WWD in an interview.

Know your audience: 

  • DN’s audience data told them that wine journalist Merete Bø had the byline with the most followers. On top of that, the one special interest most readers had in common was food and wine. “We knew that we had an audience, so then we could create something exciting and new with that insight,” Live Thorsen said, DN’s Editor of Storytelling and Feature Journalism.
  • Hearst research showed that the Cosmopolitan audience drank about 36 million glasses of wine last week in total. “This demographic is a massive wine consumer base, they’re underserved by the current market, which doesn’t really target young women at all. So we wanted to make a line at an accessible price point,” said Berger.

Providing additional value 

DN’s video and podcast content are freely available, but the wine reviews were gradually put behind a paywall. Subscribers not only get to access those, but they also receive a weekly newsletter from Bø, offering them a look at what she’ll eat on the weekend, and what wine she’s planning to pair the food with.

  • “This was content that we had given away for years, so we started to really slowly test, and it resulted in one of the highest conversion rates per article that we had this year,” she said.
  • While for Cosmo it’s too early to make revenue projections, Berger said that “it looks likes it’s going to be a very strong business.”

The roll-up: If the pandemic has taught the industry one thing, it’s to find ways to do things differently. Knowing your audience, and building a strong brand around them, at the right time, is a good place to start.

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