Issue #104 — How the internet has changed everything

Tune in for this week's curation of articles, including studies about how publishers are fine-tuning their paywalls, a round up of subscription growth from the past 3 months from a new Zuora report and why publishers are fearful of Amazon commission cuts. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

Never-ending Niches by Ben Thompson

This week's top read comes from Stratechery. It's an incredibly interesting view of how the internet has changed everything. Don't miss this!

Never-ending Niches
The Internet changed how media competes to focus and quality, but quality is defined by your niche.

💸 Business models

How publishers are playing with time in their paywall strategies

"Recent research from INMA shows that globally only 39% of national media outlets charge for their digital content. Of these, 47% of the paywalls use the freemium model, in which most content is available to everyone but select premium content is available only for paying subscribers."

Digital news and media subscriptions grow 110% in 3 months: What’s next for publishers

"Businesses relying on subscription revenues continue to show resilience through the pandemic. 50% are growing as fast as they were before the pandemic, and 18% have shown accelerated growth (greater than 25%), according to Zuora’s latest edition of its Subscription Impact Report."

Big publishers are using puzzles as a way to increase retention

It seems the same strategies newspapers have used for decades work on the internet too! The NYT adding 119k subscribers who signed up for its crosswords, cooking and audio products.

✍️ Modern journalism

When journalists say they’re objective — What does that even mean?

"The concept of “objectivity” is day-one stuff in any journalism program. It’s the idea that reporters shouldn’t bring any of their personal experiences or biases to their work, and instead relay the facts of a story from a neutral standpoint."

Solutions, not just stories. This publisher worked with readers to explore what life looked life after COVID-19

This member-funded French local news site asked its audience how it should report on the pandemic and attracted 20% more paying readers in the process.

Podcasts about race are climbing the charts, and coronavirus shows drop out

"Plus: How the Equality in Audio Pact came together, and Apple rolls out an exclusive show."

💻 Technology

Where to blog? Own your domain, use open source technology

Ben Thompson of Stratechery discusses the question of where to blog on his personal site.

Facebook may be about to upend the rules of email marketing

The social media giant confirmed that it’s testing new email marketing tools with a limited number of small and midsized businesses.

🤷 WTF?

Spared for now, large publishers live in fear of Amazon commission cuts

When Amazon told members of its affiliate program in mid April that it was slashing commission rates, publishers started to panic. And for good reason.