Issue #106 — How to forego venture capital with the membership model

Enjoy your regularly scheduled Sunday reading & listening with all of the top stories in publishing. There's articles covering how to address reader fatigue, content marketing tips, new podcast advertising tech, a new social network from Google and more!

As always, hit reply to chat – tell us what you want to see more of.

Until next time 👋🏼

💯 Top picks

[Podcast] We don't need your clicks

"The membership model has helped the Dispatch forgo venture capital or billionaire ownership"

‘We don’t need your clicks’: The Dispatch co-founder Steve Hayes on bucking the attention economy from The Digiday Podcast
Listen to The Digiday Podcast episodes free, on demand. The attention economy hasn’t just proven to be a losing proposition for media businesses financially. It also encourages quick, outrage-based political coverage that thrives off of (and feeds) poor governance, according to Steve Hayes, CEO and …

💸 Business models

5 ways Advocate Media is addressing reader fatigue

One hyperlocal news org shares how they're pivoting coverage to evolve with reader interests. Lots of interesting strategies in here that could apply to many publishers!

Subscription, membership, and donations will move centre stage

The great thing about a new industry report is that everyone does a rundown of the highlights. In case you missed it last week, here's a really good synopsis of the takeaways from the recent Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

ROE: Return On Engagement — the metric of care and community

"We’re in an engagement crisis. It’s been exposed by COVID-19 and accelerated by civic unrest. But it’s all rooted in the hurt of individuals and groups not being heard by the institutions meant to be serving their needs."

Marketing tips: find out how you can maximise the reach of your content with owned, earned and paid media.

✍️ Modern journalism

Online and independent: The future of journalism is already here

"The modern news industry is in crisis. For years, formerly stalwart publications have been bought up, hollowed out, and sold for scrap by predatory (and often utterly incompetent) venture capital firms."

Journalists believe news and opinion are separate, but readers can't tell the difference

"Long before newspapers became institutions for collecting and distributing news, they were instruments for the personal expression of individuals – their owners. There was little thought given to whether or not opinion and fact were intermingled."

E-replica editions, the ugly ducklings of digital news, have suddenly become strategic

"Once a flawed product, e-editions are now central at several news publications, especially during the pandemic-caused ad downturn."

💻 Technology

Google's US ad revenue is in decline

"Research firm eMarketer says decline would be the first since it started tracking Google’s ad revenue in 2008."

Spotify is testing interactive podcast ads so you never have to remember a promo code again

They're testing a feature called "In-App Offers" to give podcasts the ability to display embedded links on episode pages.

Google will start paying publishers to license content

"In a major departure from its long-standing practice of not paying publishers directly to distribute their work, Google executives tell Axios that the search giant is creating a licensing program to pay publishers "for high-quality content" as a part of a new news product launching later this year."

🤷 WTF?

Google launches a new social network

That's right, Google has designed its new social network, Keen. Many see it as an AI-powered Pinterest competitor.