Issue #55 — Send better emails, grow local subscribers & produce less content

Welcome back to your weekly curation of the most important stories in digital publishing. There’s a lot of interesting links in this week’s edition. Don’t worry, you can always look back and reference past issues, or find that one article you meant to send to your colleague right here 👉 publisherweekly.org/newsletter

What are you reading this week? Hit reply to start the conversation, we’d love to hear what bought you to Publisher Weekly and what you’d like to see in future issues.

💯 Top picks

Not a Newsletter: A monthly guide to sending better emails

Top read of the week comes in the form of an email newsletter, but not really. Dan Oshinsky, director of newsletters at The New Yorker is sharing all of the best email news, tips, and ideas in an accessible Google Docs format. If you want a reminder of when it has been updated, you can subscribe here.

💸 Business models

Learning the best ways to grow local news subscribers

News startup WhereBy.Us have a core metric for success: Growth. They share what they’ve learned about the most efficient and effective ways they have increased subscriber numbers, with a common thread we hear so often - building human relationships is important! Find out more about how they define and analyse success metrics.

GEN Summit 2019 — The state of the paywall: Where do we go from here?

“Recently at the GEN Summit, I saw so much positive awareness about how different monetization models can complement subscriptions. Just like at INMA earlier this year, people are paying attention, listening to the arguments being made, and building their own opinions. It is incredibly gratifying to see, and it made me want to share with you my own contribution to the debate.” – Cosmin Ene

Media Voices on micropayments: They might still work!

After last weeks news that Blendle, the pioneers of micropayments, were ditching micropayments, Media Voices chime in on why this isn’t proof that it will never work for news.

Digiday Podcast: Subscriptions are becoming like a TV rating model

“Subscriptions and advertising businesses may stand in conflict with each other, but The New York Times has been bullish on this strategy. While remaining a shining example of a successful subscription business, last year, it also had its first growth year overall in advertising since 2005. Sebastian Tomich, head of advertising at The Times discusses the advertisers’ aversion to news, how audio has become a meaningful business for the Times and more.”

Market-leading magazine subscription app Readly raises €15 million

Founded in 2012, Readly paved a future for digital magazine subscriptions - providing unlimited access to content from popular publishers in a single app interface. In 2019, they're one of the fastest growing companies in Sweden, and have recently raised a €15 million investment round.

✍️ Modern journalism

6 principles for the Guardian (and the world of journalism)

Watch to Editor-in-Chief of the Guardian, Katharine Viner, present her keynote speech from GEN Summit 2019. Full video right here!

Related Twitter thread: “The Guardian cut its weekly story production by *one third*… and traffic went up, said @KathViner. This is amazing on many many levels, and something we should all be paying attention to. Less is sometimes more.”

Community Info Coop: How to launch an info district

“Information is power. But decisions about how information gets discovered, shared, and used are made by those already in power. In most places, the people who are most in need of information have little say in those decisions. This is a proposal to change that.”

Check out the new guide produced by the Community Info Coop with Reynolds Journalism Institute, about organising community change.

“Tying together two rocks doesn’t make them float” Why newspapers are facing the end of scale

“My issue with newspaper consolidation is that this strategy didn’t start with the rise of Google and Facebook. It has its roots in the rise of television and radio, and while it delivered the illusion of a golden age of one-paper towns and monopoly rents, it hasn’t delivered a new durable business model.”

BBC global audience passes 300 million

The BBC’s global audience has passed 300 million, with television overtaking radio as the most popular platform for international news for the first time in the corporation’s history.

Axel Springer to merge Business Insider and eMarketer

German publisher Axel Springer said it would combine two of its biggest publications: millennial-focused financial news site Business Insider, and eMarketer, the marketing trends research company.

👩‍💻 Technology

Twitter is removing precise location data on tweets — a small win for privacy and a small loss for journalists

Twitter have announced the removal of location data on tweets, stating people don't use this feature and removing it will simplify the experience. This definitely had a warm reception from privacy conscious users of the platform – but there's an impact on journalists and researchers, too!

Facebook content moderators break their NDAs to expose desperate working conditions

Facebook moderators are employed as contractors and become the editors of deciding what users see on the social media platform to prevent abuse. It's a job that includes consuming and moderating upsetting content day after day. Casey Newton published this deep investigation into the disturbing conditions that contracted moderators are subjected to, including accounts from people who have broken their 14-page NDA to raise awareness.

Spotify to separate podcasts and music

Spotify is introducing a library redesign that’ll separate podcasts and music more clearly, reportedly for premium users only. Another step in investing more in the podcast space this year!

Newsrooms should take the voice ecosystem seriously

With smart speakers and voice technology taking off in North America, Global Editors Network explore whether there is a sustainable business model for the voice economy in this interview with CEO of Kaleida Networks, who recently published a News Assistant Report.

🤷 WTF?

WeChat is watching

PhD student Barclay Bram writes an account of living in China and using We Chat: “the app that knows everything about me.”

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