Issue #131 — The movement for open subscription platforms

The final newsletter of 2020 includes a new movement for open subscription platforms, Rafat Ali writes about the importance owning your stack — plus, more roundup articles about 2020 and predictions for next year!

We're taking a short break for a few weeks and we'll return in 2021 for your regular Sunday reading list. Thanks so much for supporting Publisher Weekly!

💯 Top picks

A shared movement for open subscription data

With so many publishers launching paid subscriptions, it’s never been more important to be in control of your own customer data. Open Subscription Platforms is a new movement promoting subscription data portability between products, something which is likely to be a hot topic in the next years.

💸 Business models

On breaking away: 18 years of lessons on journalist-as-an-entrepreneur life

20 tips about becoming a media entrepreneur from Rafat Ali, founder of paidContent (now owned by UK’s Guardian News and Media) and Skift.

Year 2020 in subscriptions and memberships

The Fix shares an end-of-the-year review of what happened in 2020 in podcasting, subscriptions, memberships, newsletters and social media.

Go niche

In 2021, niche media will be the go-to, predicts Tshepo Tshabalala. "The future resilience of the world’s media lies in focusing on niche audiences and verticals. Its success lies in organisations that speak to very specific interests and the need for credible content."

Blogging is back, but better

“The primary difference is that these blogs, these magazines, these whatevers, will be built and guided by the individual creators for their audience, not by the executives they once reported to.”

[Report] Media Moments 2020

What's New in Publishing have released the annual Media Moments report, covering trends in advertising, reader revenue, data, diversity and more.

✍️ Modern journalism

The real reason local newspapers are dying

"I left daily newspaper journalism in 2005. But it’s only gotten worse, because now there is the internet to scapegoat for all of the incompetence and thievery."

Five things you need to know about new EU rules

"The European Union on Tuesday proposed a sweeping set of rules to rein in the power of Big Tech, amounting to the most aggressive legislative effort against the industry to date."

Collaborative between journalism groups seeks to start 500 local newsrooms in three years

The Tiny News Collective says it will provide participants the tools and resources they need to start their own local newsroom.

💻 Technology

Social embeds drive 20% more pageviews for publishers (and Twitter accounts for almost half of that)

"The mobile advertising company Kargo analyzed over two billion pages across Comscore top 250 publishers as well as Kargo’s 700+ premium publisher properties for social embeds, and found them on more than 30% of all article pages, with Twitter making up 46% of the total."

Lessons on growing your list via pop-ups, Instagram, and great landing pages

The December issue of Not A Newsletter includes tips for growing your list, pricing paid newsletters and more.

Don’t expect breaking up Google and Facebook to solve our information woes

“More options are great in theory, but new platforms could also provide a haven for misinformation and hate speech and further prevent us from engaging with opinions that challenge our existing beliefs.”

🤷 WTF?

The rise of the messy advice column

"The format triggers a Pavlovian response: I’m anticipating the satisfaction of either experiencing someone’s fragile self-delusion being eloquently, satisfyingly dismantled; a banal human problem being taken seriously [...] or, if nothing else, reading some truly bonkers shit that will serve as a much-needed escape from the present."