Issue #37 — Apple are launching a subscription for news service

It’s been another busy week in the publishing news, with the latest stories about business models including resistance to Apple’s plans to launch a subscription news service, interesting insights from more publishers who are actively growing memberships and a new take on hyper-local news. Enjoy!

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💯 Top picks

"A subscriber is paying for the regular delivery of well-defined value"

An excellent summary of the shift in business models and thoughts about what the subscription business model actually means from Ben Thompson of Stratechery. This week’s must read!

💸 Business models

Apple plans to keep 50% of subscription revenue from their new 'Netflix for news' service

Oh… and they likely won’t share customer data! Apple are running into some serious resistance from publishers at these proposed financial terms of their new subscription service for news.

How The Telegraph pairs user registration and paid subscriptions

The UK publisher shifted from a metered paywall to a variable paywall three years ago with 20% of its content being premium and gated. They’ve also introduced new features that allow readers to save articles and follow their favourite journalists which is proving popular.

Krautreporter collect data using a Slackbot to commission articles that grow membership

Find out how this German publisher is boosting subscriptions by creating stories that people want! They’re using data about what articles convert users to a paid subscription, in addition to qualitative community feedback.

The new local news: Patch is launching paid, “ad-lite” memberships

Patch is an all-digital local news company that used to be owned by AOL. Recently, the outlet seems to represent a new type of local news, with 1,200 hyper-local sites turning a profit of $20 million in ad revenue. Now they’re about to launch a paywall too.

✍️ Modern journalism

Journalism isn't dying. It's returning to its roots.

The future of journalism is more partisan and supported by more diverse revenue streams—in other words, like the journalism of 200 years ago.

Are we really going to do the "news bundle" conversation yet again?

“We’re still looking for a ‘magic button’ solution that will solve our revenue woes. And it still doesn’t exist. It isn’t Facebook. It isn’t paywalls. It isn’t a paid news aggregator. But it might include elements of all of these - and more.”

Clicks are an “unreliable seismograph” for a news article’s value — here’s new research to back it up

“People frequently click on stories that are amusing, trivial, or weird, with no obvious civic focus. But they maintain a clear sense of what is trivial and what matters.” See also: the full report from Reuters Institute.

👩‍💻 Technology

TechCrunch announce a new subscription service: Extra Crunch

The digital technology and startup publisher are introducing a new layer of content, coverage and product for their most engaged readers, with premium in-depth articles behind a paywall. Sounds great for TechCrunch fans, not least because “Extra Crunch” sounds like a type of breakfast cereal 🙃

Google News is one of the biggest news platforms on the internet, and it's broken!

Owen Williams discusses the flaws with the often unnoticed news platform, Google News. Figuring out how to get featured in the news carousel in the search results is “a mysterious process with hidden rules, gotchas and changing goal posts, designed only to allow the largest, well-known of publishers in.”

🤷 WTF?

Google wants to make it harder for sites to detect that you’re using Chrome’s Incognito Mode

Chrome Incognito is a go-to for those who value privacy, but you may be surprised to know that there has long been a flaw that can be abused by developers, which Google are finally looking to fix!