Issue #74 — Paths to subscription & why people pay for news

Welcome to our newest subscribers – it’s great to have you here! ICYMI we did a special edition last week announcing membership & subscriptions at Ghost. To catch up, here’s the most important stories and ideas in independent publishing from the past two weeks. Enjoy!

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💯 Top picks

Paths to subscription: Why recent subscribers chose to pay for news

“The move toward subscriptions will require measuring audiences differently, with analytics that measure deep engagement and not just page views. Publishers will need to segment audiences by their loyalty also and by their eventual likelihood to pay.”

💸 Business models

Price elasticity tests yield revenue opportunities for publishers

Mather Economics ran some pricing tests with several publishers to measure the elasticity of digital-only subscriber price. They found that the ideal renewal price is often higher than expected, and digital-only subscribers are less sensitive to price changes than print subscribers.

What it takes to shift a news organisation to reader revenue

“Launching a paywall is easy. Pivoting a whole business from an advertising-centric mindset to one focused on reader revenue is not.”

API investigate the ways in which the news industry needs to develop the skills and technology to sustain membership and subscription programs.

Subscriber-only newsletters aim to build local news loyalty

“We’ve seen data from Google that shows that email newsletters are the single most effective way to get people to decide to subscribe”

It’s time to get personal with consumers, or get lost

“There is a limit to how many publications a consumer will be willing to pay for, and if you want to be one of them, you’ll need to:

  1. give people content so indispensable they cannot live without, or
  2. make them feel connected to something so deeply that they want help keep it alive.”

✍️ Modern journalism

What hope for slow journalism?

Global Editors Network catch up with James Harding and the founding team of Tortoise to discuss the opportunities and challenges of slow journalism.

Glamour Editor in Chief on transforming into a digital-first brand [Podcast]

Glamour UK’s Editor in Chief Deborah Joseph talks Media Voices about the transformation of the publication from print-first to digital-first.

What if scale breaks community? Rebooting audience engagement when journalism is under fire

The latest report from Reuters Institute investigates how digital media navigates audience engagement while keeping up to date with developments in technology, mobile and platform media.

Starting a company to build out a new model for local news

NiemanLab author Ken Doctor has announced a new company called Lookout and a new model for local news, which will launch next year.

👩‍💻 Technology

Will Facebook’s new news tab be a milestone or millstone?

“The money is welcome, and the potential audience is too. But does this push publishers away from being destinations and toward being suppliers?”

The transformation of Condé Nast

How a media mogul defined class and invented the modern magazine.

The Financial Times is rolling out subscriber-only podcasts

“The Financial Times has expanded its audio strategy to include subscriber-only podcasts, a first for the publisher.”

🤷 WTF?

Why editorial illustrations look so similar these days

“The answer boils down to three T’s: technology, taste, and terrible pay.” Quartz explore the trends in “flat design” and why it’s taking over the internet.

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