Issue #54 — Modelling subscription success with Piano and Tortoise

Welcome back. It’s been a busy week in the digital publishing news, so we’ve included all of the top reads in this weeks extra roundup for you to peruse at your leisure. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

Modelling subscription success with Piano and Tortoise [Podcast]

This conversational episode of Media Voices with Michael Silberman (SVP of Strategy at Piano) and Katie Vanneck Smith (co-founder of Tortoise) covers all things membership, subscription strategies and best practice around user data. Grab a drink and settle in for this week’s top listen!

💸 Business models

People who like paying for news usually only pay for one subscription

A new report surveying over 75,000 people in 38 countries has been released with lots of insightful trends about news consumption: Most people pay for one news subscription, WhatsApp groups are gaining popularity, more people are avoiding mainstream news and email newsletters and mobile notifications are still effective. Click the title for the NiemanLab summary - and check out the top 5 takeaways from Twipe.

How do you involve your audience members? [Survey]

Membership Puzzle Project are running a survey to learn more about how organisations are involving audience members in their journalism projects. Maybe you can help? Find the survey here (sharing your organisation name is optional).

Micropayments-for-news pioneer Blendle is pivoting from micropayments to premium subscriptions

“I have to be honest: We are still not making a profit.”On the face of it, micropayments sound like an excellent option for people who want to access a single piece of content without signing up for a recurring subscription - especially if consumers are only prepared to pay for one news subscription. But micropayments aren’t panning out as publishers like the funded startup Blendle had hoped!

Tips from WIRED's evergreen content strategy

“Is your content archive working harder than you’re giving it credit for? WIRED’s Director of Audience Development Indu Chandrasekhar recently shared that 40% of WIRED’s visits goes to content that’s at least a week old.”

✍️ Modern journalism

How Axios drives engagement with its email newsletters through user-level data

“Some of your audience is engaged, and some of it isn’t. So why do we treat them all the same? We shouldn’t measure success as an aggregate — we should instead try to understand if the right people are highly engaged.”

The Athletic plots UK expansion with a team of 55

Sports subscription publisher The Athletic is opening it’s first overseas operation in the UK with a team of 50+ writers covering Football news, and expanding to cover more sports later.

Local news organisations are inviting community leaders into the reporting process

A project called Stories of Atlantic City is turning usual journalism process on its head by inviting community leaders to source the stories, rather than reporters thinking up story ideas.

2010 vs 2018 compared: Print advertising is not coming back, mobile is eating the world

“Comparing 2010 and 2018 side by side makes it clear what a changed media universe we now live in.”Joshua Benton shares his annual summary from Mary Meeker’s state-of-the-Internet slide deck, which illustrates just how much the media has evolved in those years. The slides contain hundreds of graphs about media, ecommerce, investment in tech and much more!

👩‍💻 Technology

Twitch is emerging as a favourite new platform for publishers

The latest platform to catch the eye of publishers is Amazon-owned live video service, Twitch. Reportedly, publishers are using the platform to grow audience numbers, learn from community members and even monetise with in-stream ads and subscriptions.

Should journalists learn to code?

The New York Times wanted it’s journalists to improve their technical and basic data skills, and is releasing a training curriculum they’ve built to the world. It doesn’t teach journalists how to code, per se, but it does cover how to use spreadsheets and wrangle data sets. You can already access some of their resources here!

Facebook and the media — frenemies?

GEN speak with Jesper Doub, Director of News Partnerships EMEA (European Middle-East Africa) at Facebook, about what can be expected from the platform’s policy changes after accusations of funnelling media advertising resources worldwide and spreading misinformation.

ProPublica’s Facebook-monitoring political ad tool (which Facebook fought) is alive again

The browser plug-in tool designed to help Facebook users identify political ads that weren’t aimed at their demographic group is back, after Facebook urged ProPublica to shut it down before making changes that broke the tool.

🤷 WTF?

New York Times spark debate with a poorly sourced report claiming Google makes “$4.7 billion” from the media industry

The NYT recently published a piece about how much money Google makes from the media, which was immediately torn apart by Media Twitter and critics for being inaccurate, with questionable sources.