Issue #41 — Are you developing your paywall strategy for acquisition or retention?

A warm welcome to this weeks curated report of the top stories in publishing. In this issue we’re taking a look at a variety of different paywall strategies, thoughts from industry leaders about the difficulties they’re currently facing, how to measure success without focusing on vanity metrics such as pageviews and much more!

Enjoy your top reads - we’ll be back at the same time next week! 📫

💯 Top picks

Are you developing your paywall strategy for acquisition or retention?

52 percent of news execs have stated that their biggest focus in 2019 is subscriptions - but a subscription business model doesn’t always look the same from one publication to the next. Twipe take a look into the pros and cons of different paywall strategies, including: freemium, metered, hybrid and dynamic.

💸 Business models

European publishers discuss subscriptions, tech talent shortages and the programmatic landscape

Check out these interesting highlights from the Digiday Publishing Summit in Italy where 150 publishers gathered to discuss their growing reader revenue strategies, and the difficulties they’re facing.

Introducing two new communities from the Membership Puzzle Project

The Membership Puzzle Project have announced two new communities of practice in response to common threads they noticed in applications for their Membership in News Fund. The communities are focussed on helping publishers work more closely with their audience and community members as well as how to launch membership programs.

✍️ Modern journalism

BuzzFeed and the digital media meltdown – they're planning to "do more with less"

In 2014, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti told BuzzFeed staff “we’re at the start of a new golden age of media”Now, in 2019 after mass layoffs he’s saying “there was a period when everyone was trying to outrun each other, and now it’s a period of outlasting.”New-age media groups are seeing new challenges and facing increasing pressure from investors. Find out more about the post-meltdown inner workings of BuzzFeed in this fascinating CJR article.

A paywall isn’t part of Guardian’s current plans

“While the Guardian has gone through an economic crisis in the 2010s, reaching £ 58,6 million (US$ 78,1 million) in losses in 2015, the appointment of Katharine Viner as editor-in-chief has led to a financial turnaround in recent years. In her interview with GEN, Viner shares her strategies and hopes for the future.”

BBC Local News Partnerships: how breaking out of the London bubble can strengthen the news agenda

\Matthew Barraclough, head of BBC Local News Partnerships, spoke at the Newsrewired event about the benefits of looking outside of your local newsroom and city.

Vice Media looks to raise money after a rough year

The Information have reported that Vice Media is now looking to raise a new round of financing of up to $200 million… in order to become profitable!

How to build a newsroom culture that cares about metrics beyond pageviews

“The most powerful predictor for how metrics adoption will go in a newsroom is whether reporters are interested in how their communities experience and respond to journalism.”

👩‍💻 Technology

How The Guardian is making podcasts pay off

After investment in podcasts, The Guardian is seeing increased ad revenues from a new daily 25 minute podcast show, while also driving more people to support the publication through donations and memberships. All of this has been achieved without a paywall - and as we discovered in the GEN article above, the publication has no plans to implement one.

Automated news: Machines are definitely not replacing journalists (at least not yet)

A report from WAN-IFRA takes a look at the benefits and pitfalls of news automation and machine journalism. The general consensus is that the current state of automated content saves time on repetitive tasks and helps to increase output, without putting jobs at risk. Inevitably, the bigger concerns are about the future of this technology!

🤷 WTF?

The New York Times wants to know your religion, marital status, Insta handle and hobbies...

A new initiative is asking readers to fill out a form detailing their contact info, online presence, occupation, race, political leanings, interests, and more. The publication have stated that this information will be used for journalistic purposes and not for advertising!