Issue #81 — Predictions for 2020

We're really excited to grow and evolve this newsletter and community in the year ahead. We want to make sure it's helpful for our subscribers and always appreciate ideas or feedback. Hit reply to let us know what you want from your weekly updates this year.

As always, we'll be sharing the latest and greatest ideas, inspiration and stories for independent publishing every Sunday. To kick things off, we've got lots of interesting hot takes on preparing your publishing strategy for the year ahead.

💯 2020 forecasts

NiemanLab predictions for journalism in 2020

At the end of each year, NiemanLab ask people in journalism and digital media to share what they think is coming in the following 12 months. Here’s the roundup of the latest predictions, including some of our favourites: “Respect the non-paying audience” & “A return to blogs (finally? sort of?)

Digiday’s reporters weigh in on the year ahead and discuss the streaming wars, a future that goes “beyond the cookie” and how publishers’ revenue streams may change (29 minute listen).

Here are 10 themes for news in 2020 from the NYT

“The New York Times Product and Design Discovery team took a human-centered design research process to understand how people use technology and what that might mean for news.”

Publishers will arm up for the churn war

2019 saw lots publishers putting up paywalls and introducing subscriptions. This growth in recurring reader revenue against a backdrop of a failing advertising market has been the beacon of hope of the past 12 months. But as in any business with recurring revenue will attest, the next part of the journey will be battling with churn! Digiday discusses how the more mature publications will be approaching this in 2020.

💸 Business models

Publishers are joining the race for reader revenues, but there’s no silver bullet

"Publishers large and small are joining earlier adopters with their own reader revenues plays. But with subscription fatigue threatening, quality content and smart reader retention strategies will be necessary for success”.

Newsday marries newsletters, audience data to increase subscriptions, engagement

Senior Editor at Newsday, Anthony Bottan, shares how they have driven subscriptions and increased engagement through newsletters by using audience data to identify high-interest topics among users with impressive results.

200k subscribers: How one of Poland’s leading newspapers did it

Gazeta Wyborcza, one of Poland’s leading newspapers now has over 200,000 subscribers, ranking 23rd in the global digital subscriptions snapshot. They share the attributes that helped them to achieve this success here!

The changing business model for publishers, in five charts

“For publishers, the biggest priorities heading into 2020 are how to grow revenue they can control: Both through direct-sold ads and subscriptions.”

Download the end of year charts in a zip file.

How to win the loyalty of new subscribers through great onboarding

Onboarding campaigns are well versed in the SaaS industry, and are becoming increasingly popular for subscription publishers to improve engagement with new paid subscribers. Check out this article to find out how real publishers are implementing onboarding in their subscription flows.

✍️ Modern journalism

These tips will make you a better writer

Poynter put together this resource with links to their favourite classic writing tips - and since a new year is a great time to revisit (or discover) ideas for writing, we really enjoyed diving into some of these articles.

Journalists are the new influencers

“With trust in influencers waning, could it be that journalists are in a prime position to influence culture? Phil McKenzie thinks so.”

👩‍💻 Technology

The big story of podcasting in 2019 was all about Spotify. Will 2020 be the year Apple strikes back?

“Plus: A podcast network for tweens, NPR updates its fee model, Luminary’s collapse, and a few more thoughts on 2019.”

TV Industry Suffers Steepest Drop in Ad Sales Since Recession - Bloomberg

“Global TV advertising sales fell almost 4% in 2019, the steepest drop since the depths of the economic recession in 2009, in the latest sign that advertisers are following viewers to the internet.”

Publishers are starting to diversify traffic sources

Publishers are starting to see more traffic being driven from mobile news aggregators like TopBuzz, News Break, Flipboard and SmartNews, which allows them to diversify traffic sources from the likes of Google and Facebook.

🤷 WTF?

Big tech won't get broken up and other anti-prediction for media and marketing in 2020

A fitting way to round up this issue: “It’s easy to put on rose-colored glasses in December and predict a glorious future for one’s industry. But this is media, so it makes more sense to deliver some frank reminders about what’s not going to happen in 2020 instead.”