Issue #94 — Subscription economy has grown by 321%

In this weeks roundup of indie publishing news we hear of more publishers gaining more subscribers than ever, and enjoy a really hot take on Twitter about the need to build a new decentralised media, staffed by citizen journalists.

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💯 Top picks

"Subscription Economy has grown its revenue by 321%": Highlights for publishers from 'The Forever Transaction'

Zuora’s Q4 2018 Subscription Index report states, “an average company in the Subscription Economy has grown its revenue by 321% since the launch of the index in January 2012, a compound annual growth rate of 18.1%.”

💸 Business models

'Opening the paywall is not an option': Schibsted sees subscriptions mini-boom

Nordic publisher Schibsted have sold twice as many daily subscriptions to its multiple news brands in Sweden and Norway in the past few weeks. But with monthly, three-monthly and annual subscriptions - it's hard to know if these new readers will stick around, or churn out when times are less uncertain.

From $100M in debt to 98% growth in digital revenues: Lessons from Trusted Media Brands

“Trusted Media Brands, the publisher of Reader’s Digest, has gone from being bankrupt twice (2009 and 2013) and struggling with 100M in debt, to becoming profitable again. Its digital ad revenues are now growing, and the company is diversifying into direct-to-consumer products and membership programs.”

Local news outlets drop paywalls but gain digital subscribers anyway

“Even though many local news organisations have moved their COVID-19 stories outside their paywalls, several are seeing encouraging boosts in their digital subscriptions during the crisis.”

Podcasts drive loyalty and engagement between journalists and listeners

Publishers like The Telegraph are finding ways to tell stories differently using audio, to reach new audiences and build loyalty.

✍️ Modern journalism

[Thread] "If the penalty for just-a-joke is getting fired, what’s the penalty for just-the-flu?"

“The media should not be “guardians of democracy” nor “enemies of the people”. Neither guardian nor enemy, just the people. All citizen journalists.”

How to report on the digital divide & COVID-19

“Getting and keeping people connected is a life-and-death issue right now. As part of this effort, reporters can play a crucial role in telling community stories.”

How to manage a community during the pandemic

Online community managers are seeing an increase in emotional intensity, here’s how to manage this.

👩‍💻 Technology

Tips for making the best videos on your phone

Some simple tips for shooting decent video on your phone that were sent to BBC staff!

Firefox and Scroll team up to test a new revenue model

“A cleaner web experience for users, yet one that is profitable for publishers… that’s the idea behind a new initiative launched by Mozilla and Scroll, the Firefox Better Web with Scroll. It combines the tracking protection built into Firefox with the ad-free browsing experience offered by Scroll.”

🤷 WTF?

Advertising is now just making Zoom backgrounds

Pixar, Paramount, CBS, Starz, and others are making Zoom backgrounds to promote their TV shows and movies.