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

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.”

#54 — Modelling subscription success with Piano and Tortoise

#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.

#53 — Lessons from a year behind a paywall

#53 — Lessons from a year behind a paywall

In this week’s roundup of the latest news in publishing, we’ve pulled together some interesting podcast episodes about reader revenue, lots of technology news from the likes of Apple, YouTube and Facebook and a hot take on the difference between influencers and creators!

Enjoy 👉

💯 Top picks

“300% increase in new digital subscribers”: Lessons from a year behind a paywall [Podcast]

Media Voices catch up with Nicholas Thompson, the Editor-in-Chief of WIRED, who has been the driving force behind two high-profile paywall launches for Condé Nast. This weeks top listen!

💸 Business models

Substack expands its subscription platform with discussion threads

The subscription email newsletter platform are launching a community feature - unlocking discussion threads that can be open to everyone, or limited to a newsletters subscribers.

A framework for developing habits with news products

The newspaper industry had the art of habit forming down, but what can modern, digital publishers learn from their print-based ancestors? Twipe share some insightful tactics for news products in this 7 minute read.

Publishers need to have a reader revenue component for a viable strategy [Podcast]

The Financial Times CEO, John Ridding, shares his views on the Digiday podcast about their biggest growth areas, their difficult relationship with Facebook, and cautions that the road to building subscribers is much harder than it looks!

✍️ Modern journalism

These reporters lost their jobs. Now they’re fighting back against big tech!

“John Stanton and Laura Bassett are warning about what they believe the tech industry is doing to journalism, as thousands have lost their jobs this year alone.”

Inside the Washington Post's hybrid newsroom structure [Thread]

@JasonJedlinski shares an insightful snippet from the WNMC event in Scotland earlier this week about how the Washington Post manages their newsroom.

Vice.com editors exit as shake-up continues

Two key editors left Vice.com after mass layoffs and a pivot towards video.

How did journalists file before Google Docs?

Ever wondered how journalism actually happened before we had the technology we have today? Take a journey back in time from the 60s to present day with CJR.

Sobering reality for news outlets: Your readers are somewhere else 99% of the time

And figuring out where else they’re spending their time online is a key part of generating competitive intelligence.”

👩‍💻 Technology

R.I.P. iTunes and more power to the iPad: Important news for publishers from Apple’s WWDC keynote

“It’s getting a lot easier to build a Mac news app, the words spoken in all podcasts will soon be searchable, and Siri might soon read your news alerts straight into someone’s AirPods.”

A curated list of best email designs in the universe

We recently discovered reallygoodemails.com which is full of examples of good email design and best practice. There’s lots of categories to choose from, including news, subscription and technology.

Facebook is offering new subscription tools for publishers via Instant Articles

“Facebook is introducing more tools for users to kick in subscriptions for publishers, but it’s unclear how many subscriptions it will meaningfully drive.”

YouTube bans kids live-streaming video unless accompanied by an adult

In an ongoing response to backlash about how minors use the platform, YouTube have introduced new rules around live-streaming.

🤷 WTF?

The real difference between creators and influencers

“Influencer is a platform-agnostic term. It describes anyone who leverages social media to grow a following and exerts influence over that following in order to make money.”

#52 — Moving 5,000 articles away from Medium

#52 — Moving 5,000 articles away from Medium

Welcome to issue 52, marking a full year since we launched this newsletter – a curation of the most important news, stories and ideas in digital publishing.It’s been a fascinating year, with many publishers moving away from failing revenue streams and towards emerging business models: subscriptions, memberships and paywalls. It’s been widespread, from the world’s largest news organisations to independent publishing businesses and creators.

Thanks for being a part of our community! We started this newsletter because we’re deeply interested in the future of digital publishing & modern journalism and wanted to share the insights gathered each week in a time-saving format. Your involvement is important to us – so hit reply to let us know what you’d like to see in future issues!

Catch up on past issues at publisherweekly.org and discover a library of the best resources available to modern publishers ⚡

💯 Top picks

Moving 5,000 articles away from Medium

“I am one of the most-followed authors on Medium, with 158,000 followers. And yet Medium barely shows my articles to anyone anymore.”Quincy Larson shares the news that freeCodeCamp moved more than 5,000 of their articles away from Medium, in order to take control of their publication and give their writers and contributors a bigger audience - with no more popups or sign-in prompts.

💸 Business models

Publishers are hiring for an exciting new role: Membership Editor

Now that membership models are becoming the norm, publishers are hunting for staff who can sit somewhere between product, marketing and editorial, to support the growth of their membership products.Publishers like Quartz and The Atlantic already have people in this role, while others such HuffPost and BuzzFeed News just started hiring.

Fortune to add paywall in bid to diversify revenue stream

“Fortune magazine is raising its cover price, launching a digital paywall and boosting its conference business, in its first decisive steps as an independent publisher.”

BuzzFeed plans sustainable growth with commerce and video

After restructuring and cutting staff globally earlier this year, BuzzFeed UK has a plan for sustainable growth by creating local video content and commerce advertising partnerships.

✍️ Modern journalism

One year in, GDPR fines haven’t hit publishers — or very many other companies, actually

"More than a dozen EU countries haven’t issued a single GDPR fine yet, and the those that have have generally been small. (Unless your name is Google.)”

Weighing in on an important question: Should the media quit Facebook?

“Is it enough to be skeptical? Or is there an ethical case to be made that media companies, and the journalists who work for them, should sever their ties to Facebook completely?”

Refinery29 aims to raise $20 million

The venture-backed media company targeted at millennials is set to raise further funding to fuel international expansion and events.

👩‍💻 Technology

Twitter is showing more ads, and it's getting weird

Twitter users started noticing a sudden influx of ads in their feeds, and it turned out that the platform has been running some tests on how many promoted tweets they show. Naturally, people weren’t too happy, and there have been several complaints about clickbait and malicious campaigns.

Instagram only lets users put one link on their profiles which makes it hard to send traffic back to your website. But the rise of “link-in-bio” products are helping people to improve referral traffic from the platform by up to 15%.

Your daily news, served by an AI-powered 'digital butler' called JAMES

Everyone is talking about a new machine learning tool being used by The Times to improve audience engagement. Their technology is called JAMES, which stands for “Journey Automated Messaging for Higher Engagement”. In normal language, it means content will be delivered to the right people at the right time. So far the results are pretty impressive, with a reported 49% reduction in subscriber churn!

🤷 WTF?

After 15 years, the Pirate Bay still lives on

Most peer-to-peer file sharing platforms and torrenting websites have been shut down over the years. Meanwhile, the Pirate Bay continues to host torrents that have survived for over a decade, thanks to an anonymous group of piracy advocates who ensure the site never goes down.

#51 — Avoiding over-reliance on any one platform or revenue stream

#51 — Avoiding over-reliance on any one platform or revenue stream

Welcome to Issue #51 and thanks for being a member of Publisher Weekly. You’re part of a growing community of over 620+ people who care deeply about the future of publishing. Here’s your weekly roundup of the most important news, stories and ideas!

💯 Top picks

PinkNews’ Benjamin Cohen: We'll never be dependent on one platform [Podcast]

PinkNews, a bootstrapped publication covering news and entertainment for the LGBT community are growing, with 24 employees and an expanding community around the world. Founder Benjamin Cohen talks about revenue streams for growth and what they’ve learnt on the Digiday podcast.

💸 Business models

Innovation vs change: 5 ways publishers have truly innovated

A short summary of the best ways in which digital publishers have innovated and grown in the past year, including harnessing adblockers, subscriptions, testing storytelling formats and owning the relationship with readers.

How this Swedish newspaper halved subscriber churn

Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter managed to halve their churn in under 2 years by building a multi-faceted paywall that helps to attract subscribers - and most importantly - keep them around!

Life after print: How 3 magazines are navigating their new business models

There’s no single solution for everyone, but there are several success stories to learn from. Journalist Beth Braverman shares some interesting examples of publishers who have managed to evolve and diversify.

Medium are still going all-in on building subscription business - but they're not too worried about profit

For Medium CEO Ev Williams, building revenue and a subscription business is important, but building a profitable business is not an immediate concern.

Winter may be coming for HBO’s streaming subscriptions, but it doesn’t have to for your organisation

What happens when the thing subscribers signed up for goes away? Joshua Benton discusses how to provide value, build habits, and build “long-term, repeat-consumption value”.

McClatchy reports large increase in digital subscriptions... as well as first quarter losses

Sacramento-based media company McClatchy (publisher of 30 daily newspapers) reported even deeper losses than expected for the first quarter, despite digital subscriptions increasing by 60 percent.

✍️ Modern journalism

Newspaper readers are learning to love the iPad

In a letter to readers, to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette announces that their organisation was becoming unprofitable in 2018. In order to adapt, they shifted their newspaper subscribers to an iPad version, and discovered that many of their readers enjoyed it more!

Finland is winning the war on fake news!

An anti-fake news initiative in Finland that was launched back in 2014 taught residents, students, journalists and politicians how to counter false information. It seems to have worked pretty well and now others may be looking toward Finland for inspiration.

The power of journalism collaboration is also the power of inclusion — here’s how to harness it

“As resources (especially locally) in journalism recede, collaboration has emerged as a way to do more with more by sharing skills, networks, and other reporting tools for maximum impact.”

👩‍💻 Technology

YouTube is changing how subscriber counts are displayed, possibly shifting its culture

“YouTube is introducing a major change to the way real-time subscriber counts are displayed, which could prevent analytics sites like Social Blade from actively displaying whether creators are gaining — or, more importantly, losing — subscribers.”

Introducing PodFinder — A new way to discover great podcasts

A new tool launched this week to help people with discovery in the exploding Podcast industry. PodFinder is a platform agnostic Facebook messenger chatbot that sends Podcast recommendations to searchers.

🤷 WTF?

Can decentralised IndieWeb social media save us from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter?

What if we had many decentralised platforms (like Mastodon and Micro.blog) with far fewer people spending time on them? Interesting take!

#50 — Paywall blockers & what publishers should do to prepare for changing technology

#50 — Paywall blockers & what publishers should do to prepare for changing technology

Happy Sunday and welcome to the 50th issue of Publisher Weekly – with the most important stories and ideas about independent publishing delivered to your inbox every week.

Here’s your latest insights for the future of digital publishing!

💯 Top picks

Paywall blockers: how publishers should prepare for this changing technology

As subscription revenue becomes more popular across publishing, so has the amount of technology available to bypass paywalls. With new software and browser extensions emerging to unlock paid content, publishers are slowly beginning to tighten up their paywalls and tackle known workarounds.

💸 Business models

The Washington Post adds subscription tools to Arc

The Post announced that it has added a suite of subscription tools to Arc, its in-house publishing platform that is also licensed out to other publishers.

Quartz, built on free distribution, has put its articles behind a paywall

Quartz is next in line for putting a paywall up in order to diversify revenue streams. You’ll now need to pay $100/year to access all of their latest stories.

Publishers in Latin America reinforce revenue with new membership models

New subscription models are being chosen to engage readers and strengthen journalism, with a strong focus on reader feedback. Some publishers are offering unique member perks such as audio bulletins via WhatsApp, and access to staff meetings.

✍️ Modern journalism

The future is a decentralised ecosystem of independent personal websites

Matthias Ott makes a convincing argument for building your own site, relying less on social media platforms, and working towards a diverse ecosystem of connected personal sites for a better future on the web.

The Correspondent has a new Managing Editor

"I am so excited to build a diverse team that will be collaborative, creative, and consistent in applying The Correspondent’s ten founding principles to our journalism."

Branded content and the battle for your audience’s trust [Podcast]

“Melanie Deziel, founder of StoryFuel, talks with producer Michael O’Connell about the challenges facing newsrooms that are creating branded content. The conversation addresses the impact that tech giants like Facebook and Google have on what you read and the importance of accurately measuring how readers engage with your content online.”

So what is “digital journalism studies,” anyway?

Scholars argue that digital journalism studies shouldn’t be considered a subset of journalism studies, but instead a separate field of own.

Local newsrooms experiment with Instagram to reach young audiences

Missouri School of Journalism grads are taking part in the first ever Instagram Local News summer fellowship, which will offer mentorship for experimenting with reaching new audiences in new ways.

👩‍💻 Technology

Facial recognition, subtitling automation and datasets: how Sky News uses AI to unburden journalists

Sky News are utilising technology to automate mundane tasks and free up reporters time, which can be better spent creating more valuable content.

Misinformation transcends platforms, languages and countries. How can fact-checkers stop it?

“Since January, Poynter has been keeping track of how some of the top fact checks from around the world perform on Facebook compared to the hoaxes they debunk. Overall, it hasn’t been a pretty picture — misinformation regularly gets more likes, shares and comments than fact checks.And the problem is deeper than Facebook.”

Playable podcast episodes to show up in Google search results pages

Plus, Spotify will be updating their app design to better support podcasts. The latest episode of Hot Pod explore the pros and cons of these changes and how it impacts the relationship between publishers and their audiences.

Publishers that closed their comments sections made a colossal mistake

Simon Owens argues hundreds of publishers weakened their position and handed power to major tech platforms by closing down the comments sections on their websites, which was a key resource for maintaining stronger relationships with readers.

🤷 WTF?

Group chats are making the internet fun again

Private group chats are beginning to replace the feed-based social network and allowing people to communicate in specific groups without the pressures of a worldwide audience!

#49 — Bootstrapping a media company gives you focus

#49 — Bootstrapping a media company gives you focus

Welcome back to Publisher Weekly and thanks for being a subscriber. We enjoy consuming all of the latest stories and handpicking them for this newsletter, with a focus on emerging business models in the media and publishing. Let us know what you're enjoying and what you'd like to see more of - hit reply to chat!

Here's your roundup for the week 👉

💯 Top picks

Morning Brew's Austin Rief: Bootstrapping a media company gives you focus [Podcast]

The Digiday Podcast catches up with the co-founder of a sustainable and profitable email-first media business, Morning Brew. Give yourself 26 minutes to listen to Austin's thoughts on business models, competing with big media and building a subscription business with few resources.

💸 Business models

Newspaper paywalls slowly increasing, but online news is still mostly free

A new study by Reuters Institute challenges the fears about paywalls limiting access to online news. They found that more than two-thirds of leading newspapers in Europe and the US are operating a paywall of some description, but hard paywalls that completely restrict access are rare.

The full study surveyed media in 7 countries and goes into detail about the average costs for paywalled news. Many charts - lots of data!

How to engage with your audience - lessons from a failed subscription newsletter

Co-workers at Greeley Tribune, Colorado were tasked to launch and grow a paid newsletter called The Playbook, covering rural prep sports in Northern Colorado. It failed to meet expectations after 5 months, so it was canned. Here’s what they learnt in the process!

What gets readers hooked onto your writing? [Podcast]

“In an ideal world, every piece of journalistic writing would be compelling, sharp and immersive. But in reality, it is all too easy to churn out templated stories that get hardly read past the first paragraph.”

The Times continues keeps growing digital-only subscribers (and ad revenue)

First quarter earnings for the NYT were posted this week and they exceeded expectations with a net income of $30.2 million,  223,000 new digital subscriptions and 19% growth in digital advertising revenue.

Find out what readers want first – then turn it into a subscription product!

Other than record first quarter growth, the New York Times are also expanding into other verticals as a way to test the waters and find out what their audience want, before launching new subscription products. They did this with cooking, next up: parenting

✍️ Modern journalism

The newspaper company CEO pay game — heads I win, tails I win

“Million-dollar payouts common to news CEOs despite layoffs, cutbacks and stagnant salaries on the ground.”

In news industry, a stark divide between haves and have-nots

“Local newspapers are failing to make the digital transition larger players did — and are in danger of vanishing.”

Mapping the battleground for the next information war

“For journalists, this era of information warfare presents both a personal and an existential threat. It also presents a myriad of new questions about how the rules and ethics applied to journalism should change.”

💻 Technology

What type of content does well on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google?

Axios dig into what type of content does best on each social network, and a growing trend for media companies shifting to more niche channels for distribution.

Publishers love getting affiliate revenue from their reviews. So is it okay for Amazon to pay to get more of those reviews upfront?

“This might be a rare instance of the goals of a platform genuinely aligning with the goals of a publisher — or another case of publishers’ revenue streams being at the mercy of a tech company’s priorities.”

🤷 WTF?

How ethical is it for advertisers to target your mood?

ESPN and the New York Times are exploring how to match marketing to their users’ emotions - Emily Bell dives into the ethical considerations.

#48  — We launched a paywall. It worked! Mostly.

#48 — We launched a paywall. It worked! Mostly.

Happy Sunday and welcome back to your roundup of the most important stories in digital publishing. There’s been lots of interesting things going on (again) including controversy at The Correspondent, how writers are leveraging paid newsletters - and as always - the latest insights & news about paywalls and memberships. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

We launched a paywall. It worked! Mostly.

Wired launched a paywall a year ago to give themselves greater incentives to conduct high-quality reporting and to rely less on clickbait material. A year on with a 300 percent increase in new subscribers, they’ve shared an honest overview of what they learned and what surprised them. A must read!

💸 Business models

The Correspondent: "We screwed up" after deciding not to open up a US newsroom

The English-language expansion of the Dutch news site has found itself in hot water and issued a (poorly received) public apology to team members, ambassadors and supporters. The site has always taken great pride in transparency with its subscribers — but made a huge mistake in promising a US focused publication with a US newsroom during a $2.6 million crowdfunding campaign, and then failing to follow up on that promise!

Writers can turn their ideas into meaningful dollars by sending paid email newsletters to small audiences, with the freedom to write about what ever they want!

How the decision to paywall New Zealand's largest newspaper will affect other media

New Zealand’s largest general newspaper has launched a paywall this week, with likely repercussions for other media organisations and readers.

How to create a membership strategy [Video]

Emily Goligoski from the Membership Puzzle Project delivered a talk about strategy for memberships at the recent Splice Beta event in Thailand – check it out here.

✍️ Modern journalism

The Guardian looks to its future as it makes first operating profit in 20 years

“The Guardian has slam-dunked its way to financial sustainability. The publisher has emerged battle-worn but victorious from a grueling three-year plan in which it cut costs by 20% and resisted erecting a hard paywall in favour of a donation-based membership scheme.”

Readers are made of more than their wallets. They can volunteer, too!

Maldita.es, a nonprofit fact-checking org in Spain sent out a survey of 10 questions and ended up getting 2,500 people offering up their skills including help with recording audio, translation services, proofreading and much more.

Product teams have taken national news organisations by storm. What’s happening locally?

“When you’re trying to pilot a newsletter/build out a membership program/tweak the calls to action on your news organisation’s website, it often helps to have one person (or team) in charge of making those calls […] Enter: the product manager”

Email is at the heart of The New Yorker’s editorial strategy

Global Editors Network chat with Dan Oshinsky about the editorial process at The New Yorker and how and why the newsletter has become a vital component that provides its readers with the exclusive content they expect.

As the Markup implodes, Craig Newmark is learning how Journalism Really Works

“The tech-nerd founder of Craigslist infamously helped to decimate journalism—inadvertently. But he’s finding that remaking it is not that simple.”

👩‍💻 Technology

A new publication with a focus on international tech issues outside of the US and Europe

Sophie Schmidt, the daughter of a Google executive, has announced that she will be founding a nonprofit that will cover the effects of technology internationally. She plans to launch by the end of 2019!

What does Luminary’s very bad week tell us about podcasters’ collective power?

The latest Hot Pod newsletter takes a look back at last week’s Luminary debacle and other hot topics in the podcast world.

Only 25 percent of journalists are well equipped to interpret data and statistics

In a recent survey, 80% of journalists said they felt it was very important to interpret data, but only 25% of them felt confident in doing so. This article suggests the training and preparation for the profession of journalism often fall short.

🤷 WTF?

A wild plan to crowdsource the fight against misinformation

Misinformation expert Claire Wardle has an idea — we should donate our social media feeds anonymously to help fight fake news.

#47 — How small businesses can regain power via the internet

#47 — How small businesses can regain power via the internet

It feels like we say this every week… but it’s been a pretty exciting week in the publishing news. From big shifts in podcasting subscriptions the launch of Luminary, to more hot takes about how to utilise data to improve journalism, and a new paywall idea for Patron-funded subscriptions.

Hope you enjoy this weeks curation. Don’t forget, you can always revisit previous issues at here

💯 Top picks

How small businesses can regain power via the internet

“If the last wave of the internet empowered big businesses over small ones, it is possible that the next wave of the internet could easily end up doing the opposite—flipping the relative balance of power back toward small proprietors.” 💪

💸 Business models

The Ken introduce a radical new paywall: Patron-funded pay-it-forward subscriptions

Indian business news publisher The Ken shared a passionate article about their latest paywall innovation, that allows business leaders, investors and companies to directly fund annual subscriptions in bulk for readers who may not yet be able to afford them.

Family-friendly Disney and the future of strategy on the internet [Podcast]

Ben Thompson and James Allworth discuss Disney’s recent announcements to release a streaming subscription service, and what this means for TV, the internet and strategy. Have a listen on Exponent.fm!

✍️ Modern journalism

Lifting journalism by knowing what readers are looking for

Claudio E. Cabrera shares the finer details of his role as a search engine optimisation specialist for the New York Times, including how they keep on top of search trends.

Why newsroom metrics should have an expiration date

A view on how journalists and publishers should be using metrics and what some of the pitfalls are, with an overarching option: We should be measuring changes in outcomes, rather than changes in process.

Months from launch, The Markup abruptly fired cofounder Julia Angwin, setting off an editorial exodus

“The majority of the site’s editorial staff resigned this morning, and the future of a much-anticipated watchdog for technology companies is very much in doubt.”

The media are complacent while the world burns

“Every single time we’ve covered [climate change] it’s been a palpable ratings killer. So the incentives are not great”

Columbia Journalism Review cut straight to the core of a worrying issue - why is the bulk of news media is completely ignoring climate change?

LinkedIn are producing original journalism!

LinkedIn editor-at-large Jessi Hempel shares why the Microsoft-owned business networking platform has a team of 50 editors. Hempel has been in journalism for 17 years (including working with Businessweek, Fortune, and Wired) and is now bringing her expertise to LinkedIn.

Local news is dying, but nonprofit reporters might just save it

“Some 200 nonprofit websites are hustling to keep state and city governments honest. Many are succeeding.”

👩‍💻 Technology

$100 million startup Luminary has a difficult launch

The anticipated subscription podcast startup Luminary launched on April 23rd without several popular shows that Spotify are withholding – dubbed as “the first shot fired in the inevitable premium podcast war”.

But it doesn’t stop there. Even more drama has unfolded since launch day, with high-profile podcasts asking to be removed, and allegations being made about redistributing content without permission and editing show notes!

Just a normal news week for a VC funded company ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

“The reform seeks to ensure publishers and other copyright holders are paid their fair share when their work appears online. But critics fear it could have broader implications.”

🤷 WTF?

How publishers are using TikTok, the latest hot app

As the new shortform video app TikTok gathers momentum, publishers are looking for ways to utilise it to reach young audiences.

#46 — The winners and losers of the subscription frenzy

#46 — The winners and losers of the subscription frenzy

Hey readers 👋 happy Easter Sunday! Here's your round-up of stories in publishing that are worth a click, including a new membership offering from HuffPost, new grants for news startups and what journalism will do when we have 5G connectivity. Enjoy!

Get in touch – We'd love to hear from you if you have feedback or ideas about things you'd like to see more of? Or simply to chat with us about why you’re interested in the future of digital publishing! Always interested to hear your story.

💯 Top picks

Winners and losers of the subscription frenzy

“The internet for news is closing. In the wake of the global failure for digital advertising, publishers are putting their hopes in subscriptions.”An insightful 5 minute read about the key differentiators for successful subscription models.

💸 Business models

HuffPost Plus aims to cover what matters to you most

A new membership program from HuffPost has three levels ranging from free, to monthly and annual memberships, with an aim to "put people before power". You can now support their mission by becoming a member of HuffPost Plus.

Medium eyes media partnerships in pursuit of 1 million subscribers

“Medium calls itself a publisher and a platform. But founder Ev Williams thinks partnerships with outside editors and other publications could play a bigger role in Medium’s continued subscriber growth. To get there, Medium will have to overcome publisher skepticism after changing its tactics several times since its 2011 launch.”

✍️ Modern journalism

You may hate metrics – but they’re making journalism better!

“It’s conventional wisdom that the way we measure online journalism is inherently broken.”

Chris Moran writes about the negative views about metrics like pageviews and unique users in journalism, and argues that all of this data is - in fact - an incredible tool in navigating the evolving landscape of publishing.

Do media companies require strong product management?

Insights from the International Journalism Festival included the notion that successful media companies are the ones that have a clear understanding of their product across the entire company. Twipe share what they learnt about successful products in this recap.

Six experiments backed by the Membership in News Fund

The Membership Puzzle Project have announced the first six grantees of their Membership in News Fund, for six news orgs from South Africa, USA, Romania, Brazil and Mexico.

$1.5 million invested to help Latin American news startups accelerate growth

Accelerator Program Velocidad has announced funding and expert consulting to support startups in Latin America.

👩‍💻 Technology

To answer critics, YouTube tries a new metric: Responsibility

YouTube is now trying to change the way it recognises good "quality" content, and preventing giving too much credit to addictive or low quality content. The only catch is that they still haven't figured out how to do it!

What will journalism do with 5G’s speed and capacity? Here are some ideas!

Journalists and media groups are gearing up for 5G connectivity and how they will harness faster internet speeds for improvements in gathering and delivering news. Could this change the way stories are told? Nieman Lab take a look at some of the potential outcomes.

Your smartphone apps are filled with trackers you know nothing about

Owen Williams writes about a privacy issue that Apple and Google need to fix: Our apps track our every move giving plenty of companies free access to our data and our habits.

🤷 WTF?

Buzzfeed have 77 new job openings after letting 15% of its staff go

Just a few months after laying off 15% of its workforce, Buzzfeed has started hiring for a plethora of new roles. Meanwhile, remaining employee’s are struggling to get their editorial union recognised internally.

#45 — 23 videos from the International Journalism Festival 2019

#45 — 23 videos from the International Journalism Festival 2019

Happy Sunday and welcome to our new subscribers!

It’s been a busy week, with Reuters Institute releasing hours of footage from the International Journalism Festival, discussions about “subscription hostages”, the urgent need for slower news and YouTube making moves towards more traditional content. Stay ahead with the latest news in independent publishing right here 👇

Don’t forget you can always access a full list of curated resources here!

💯 Top picks

23 videos from the International Journalism Festival 2019

Reuters Institute released a playlist of lengthy talks from the International Journalism Festival on YouTube, so you can catch up at your leisure. We recommend checking out “The rise of membership models” and “How Big Tech is re-defining journalism”.

💸 Business models

What can media learn from other member-driven movements?

“Journalism’s traditional financial models are dying. Could churches, environmental movements, and open source communities hold clues to its survival?”

Membership Puzzle Project teamed up with the Knight Centre to research this topic and shared their findings in this report. Their advice? Listen to your members, offer flexible means of participation and grow at a human scale. [See also: A webinar on the same topic].

Are newspapers keeping their subscribers hostage? [Podcast]

The Rework podcast from Basecamp takes a look at the consumer trap of subscription hostages and why so many services & products don’t provide an easy way for people to cancel, or have any confidence in what they’re selling.

Whereby.Us have converted one percent its newsletter subscribers to $10/mo members

“For us, it’s about being able to provide an extra layer of community to our members, to the people who are really engaged with us, support the work that we do, and want to get engaged in the city,” CEO Chris Sopher said.

✍️ Modern journalism

Insightful weekly seminars from Reuters Institute Business and Practice of Journalism [Podcast]

Reuters Institute have recently published a huge archive of their weekly seminar series on Spotify, covering popular topics in modern journalism. Just incase you forget to save this one for later we’ve also added it to the Publisher Weekly resources section!

The future of news is conversation in small groups with trusted voices

“It will likely start with one-to-one conversations between those voices and their readers, but that will only be the beginning.”

The urgent need for slower and better news!

“Although I’m reading more than ever before, it often feels like I’m understanding less.”Michael Luo writes about the need for slower news in an age when platforms give us fast access to information that readers skim without fully absorbing.

Beyond news: understanding the role of archives in journalism businesses

“How well are our news organisations preserving their own reporting, to both provide context, and as a resource for future generations?”

👩‍💻 Technology

Is YouTube is turning its back on independent creators?

Many highly successful creators have emerged on YouTube in recent years, and the platform has supported this and helped them to go viral. But as the video giant heads towards being more like television, it could end up leaving its humble independent creators behind!

We’ll finally get to see what Luminary, the paywalled podcast(ish?) app, has been cooking

The latest issue of Hot Pod reports that Luminary will launch later this month with an $8 a month subscription for ad-free content, but that it will also function as a standard podcasting app.

🤷 WTF?

Are you seeing ads based on how you're feeling?

The NYT introduced premium ad placements based on the emotions that the article evokes about a year ago. Project monetise-our-readers-emotions has produced 50 campaigns and accrued more than 30 million impressions.

#44 — Lifetime membership value: What is participation worth & how should we measure it?

#44 — Lifetime membership value: What is participation worth & how should we measure it?

Welcome to issue #44 with your weekly top stories in publishing. This week we’re diving into lifetime value for memberships, audience engagement, evergreen newsletters and much more.

We hope you’re enjoying this newsletter as much as we enjoy curating it — hit reply to let us know what you’d like to see more of!

💯 Top picks

Lifetime membership value: What is participation worth & how should we measure it?

“Members often contribute to organisations in ways that are not easily quantifiable, and most participatory contributions are often hard to distill into a single line item. Is it possible to measure the value of participation and, more importantly, is it something we should even be measuring in the first place?”

💸 Business models

It’s time to rethink your paywall strategy

Here’s what you missed at WAN IFRA’S Digital Subscription Summit in Paris, including how to review your paywall strategy and the importance of a strong product and a successful community.

National Journal moves away from advertising revenue completely & favours multiple revenue streams

Washington based business intelligence brand National Journal has successfully pulled away from advertising as a revenue stream and have shared their views on the future of their revised business model.

The Financial Times now has 1 million paying readers

A whole year ahead of schedule, the FT now has 1 million paying readers after adopting a data-driven approach and balancing attracting new audiences with retention of existing readers.

One week with Apple News Plus: a messy but good-enough Netflix for magazines

Last week we shared some of the top stories about the latest Apple announcement and we’re still seeing dozens of stories coming through about the service, including the news that it apparently gathered more than 200k subscribers in the first two days. The Verge verdict? Clunky interface, inconsistent design, and poor discovery features.

✍️ Modern journalism

Dos and don'ts of audience engagement [Podcast]

After raising $2.5m with its crowdfunding campaign, here is what De Correspondent learned about successful communication with Jessica Best, operations lead and engagement editor.

Guardian sets goal of 2m supporters in next stage of ambitious strategy

Here’s The Guardian writing about The Guardian in third person about their ambitious goals for growing their audience of paying supporters, with an aim to further offset declining revenue in other parts of the business.

👩‍💻 Technology

An evergreen approach to email newsletters

As email newsletters see a resurgence in journalism and digital publishing, staff at Harvard Business Review decided to test how they could utilise this format to produce an evergreen 8-week email series/course. It was so successful that they’re building other products in a similar way!

Facebook is working on a dedicated News tab that might pay publishers licensing fees (or quarantine news where most users won’t find it)

Although they’re aware that most Facebook users login to catch up with their friends and family, Mark Zuckerberg’s latest project is a news tab that would “surface high-quality and trustworthy information" for the small percentage of users who do expect to find their news on the platform.

🤷 WTF?

BuzzFeed bosses flat-out stood up their union

Tweet: “We came to the table today ready to meet with BuzzFeed execs about finally recognising our union. Five minutes after the meeting was scheduled to start, they told us they weren’t going to show up.”

#43 — The week when Apple announced new subscription services

#43 — The week when Apple announced new subscription services

Welcome back to your weekly roundup of publishing news. This past week was pretty exciting, after an Apple announcement with a twist on Monday left us with plenty of articles circulating about their big push into subscription business models. We’ve included a roundup of those stories, as well as the latest in modern journalism & tech.

💯 Top picks

The long, complicated, and extremely frustrating history of Medium, 2012–present

“Less than a year after Medium abruptly canceled the membership programs of its remaining publishing partners, the company is coming back around like an ex promising you they’ve changed […] It’s not the first time, of course. Medium is nearly seven years old. It’s raised $132 million in venture funding, and it is not profitable.”

💸 Business models

We usually expect Apple to be announcing new phones, laptops, watches and other tech in their keynote events. But the event that took place this past Monday was quite a different story, with almost two hours spent announcing new subscription based services for TV, games and news!There are a lot of hot takes doing the rounds on the internet about whether these services are useful, and whether it’s a good thing for the TV and publishing industries.

It seems like Apple has a lot to prove, but one thing for sure is that subscription models are capturing the attention of businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Here’s a collection of the top stories and opinion pieces:

✍️ Modern journalism

Do technology companies care about journalism?

“On Tuesday, Google announced it would partner with McClatchy to fund three, new local news entities in communities of less than 500,000 people. This marks a change in how quickly the news business is being absorbed into the fringes of large technology businesses.”

Most Americans think that local news is doing well financially, and not many pay for it

Only 14 percent have paid for or given money to local news of any kind — print, digital, public radio pledge drive, anything — in the past year.

This 24-year old gave up city life for a job at his local paper, and then bought it five years later

In this Patreon backed series from J-Source, Angela Long shares a story about local journalism in rural Canada.

👩‍💻 Technology

How Google are using your Analytics data to fuel their News Initiative

A year ago Google announced a $300 million News Initiative to fund and support independent journalism. One of their products, News Consumer Insights, uses data collected through Analytics to allow publishers like BuzzFeed and Conde Nast to understand audience segments and figure out who is likely to become a subscriber.

The BBC and Google are fighting over who gets to control the podcast experience

"Which is more important for a public broadcaster: distributing its content as widely as possible or putting its own interests above a tech company’s?”

🤷 WTF?

Is the internet splitting into three parts?

A new EU Copyright Directive could change our understanding of the web, and have an impact on independent publishers and creators!

#42 — New subscription publications & lessons from Scandinavian publishers

#42 — New subscription publications & lessons from Scandinavian publishers

Happy Sunday to all our subscribers and welcome to those of you who are new around here 👋

In this weeks roundup of the biggest stories in digital publishing we’re weighing in on subscription fatigue, local and community news, video strategy and whether calendars could be the next great publishing tool!

💯 Top picks

Veteran tech journalist launches a new subscription publication

After working at big names such as Recode and Business Insider, Dan Frommer is launching his own subscription publication: The New Consumer. It’s going to focus on the changing landscape in e-commerce, online advertising and direct-to-consumer brands.

💸 Business models

“Never stop challenging yourself”: Lessons from Scandinavian publishers

Publishers in Norway and Sweden have shared their experiences, successes, and failures in growing their digital subscription business during the INMA Scandinavian Subscription Week. Here’s some of the highlights!

‘Subscription Fatigue’: Nearly half of US consumers are frustrated with streaming

As the amount of TV streaming services grows, with even more on the way from the likes of Apple and Disney, consumers are growing tired. In a recent survey, 47% of US consumers said they were frustrated by needing a growing number of subscriptions to access the content they want to see. Always interesting to see how subscriptions play out in different industries!

✍️ Modern journalism

Decoding metrics means embracing journalism that matters [Podcast]

Last week we shared an article summarising a report from the American Press Institute about building metric-savvy newsrooms. The authors of that report, Betsy O’Donovan and Melody Kramer, spent some time with the It’s All Journalism producers to discuss their findings in this podcast.

What would journalism look like if it was generated from within communities? [Report]

This new report from the Engaged Journalism Accelerator was based on findings from a two-day workshop with 30 European practitioners. It approaches the question: What would journalism look like if it was generated from within communities rather than for communities?

Facebook enters the news desert battle, trying to find enough local news for its new feature

With more and more US communities losing local news completely - Facebook has decided it thinks it can help. They’re going to be working on sharing data and providing grants and mentorship to selected communities.

Medium's letter to writers and publishers

Medium posted this official call for partners to produce content that will be accessed by Medium Members, who pay $5 per month to access ad-free stories. Make sure you stick around to the bottom of the article to read the section titled: “Hasn’t Medium done this before? 🙃

👩‍💻 Technology

Look for the union label (it’s coming to a podcast company near you)

Issue #200 of Hot Pod is here covering the latest news in podcasting including a union push at Gimlet. These newsletters written by Nicholas Quah always provide an inviting and in-depth read. Makes sure you check it out (and subscribe) if you’re interested in the podcast industry!

Inside The New York Times’s video strategy

Discover how the NYT is experimenting with new approaches to video and content in this interview with Nancy Gauss, executive director of video.

The New York Times built an open source documentation site

NYT have also released an open source documentation/wiki site that pulls content from Google Docs and outputs it into a library!

🤷 WTF?

Calendars might be the next great online publishing tool

Publishers are increasingly using calendars to keep readers alerted about important events, as well as to drive traffic back to their website via reminders to check out their latest posts!

#41 — Are you developing your paywall strategy for acquisition or retention?

#41 — Are you developing your paywall strategy for acquisition or retention?

A warm welcome to this weeks curated report of the top stories in publishing. In this issue we’re taking a look at a variety of different paywall strategies, thoughts from industry leaders about the difficulties they’re currently facing, how to measure success without focusing on vanity metrics such as pageviews and much more!

Enjoy your top reads - we’ll be back at the same time next week! 📫

💯 Top picks

Are you developing your paywall strategy for acquisition or retention?

52 percent of news execs have stated that their biggest focus in 2019 is subscriptions - but a subscription business model doesn’t always look the same from one publication to the next. Twipe take a look into the pros and cons of different paywall strategies, including: freemium, metered, hybrid and dynamic.

💸 Business models

European publishers discuss subscriptions, tech talent shortages and the programmatic landscape

Check out these interesting highlights from the Digiday Publishing Summit in Italy where 150 publishers gathered to discuss their growing reader revenue strategies, and the difficulties they’re facing.

Introducing two new communities from the Membership Puzzle Project

The Membership Puzzle Project have announced two new communities of practice in response to common threads they noticed in applications for their Membership in News Fund. The communities are focussed on helping publishers work more closely with their audience and community members as well as how to launch membership programs.

✍️ Modern journalism

BuzzFeed and the digital media meltdown – they're planning to "do more with less"

In 2014, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti told BuzzFeed staff “we’re at the start of a new golden age of media”Now, in 2019 after mass layoffs he’s saying “there was a period when everyone was trying to outrun each other, and now it’s a period of outlasting.”New-age media groups are seeing new challenges and facing increasing pressure from investors. Find out more about the post-meltdown inner workings of BuzzFeed in this fascinating CJR article.

A paywall isn’t part of Guardian’s current plans

“While the Guardian has gone through an economic crisis in the 2010s, reaching £ 58,6 million (US$ 78,1 million) in losses in 2015, the appointment of Katharine Viner as editor-in-chief has led to a financial turnaround in recent years. In her interview with GEN, Viner shares her strategies and hopes for the future.”

BBC Local News Partnerships: how breaking out of the London bubble can strengthen the news agenda

\Matthew Barraclough, head of BBC Local News Partnerships, spoke at the Newsrewired event about the benefits of looking outside of your local newsroom and city.

Vice Media looks to raise money after a rough year

The Information have reported that Vice Media is now looking to raise a new round of financing of up to $200 million… in order to become profitable!

How to build a newsroom culture that cares about metrics beyond pageviews

“The most powerful predictor for how metrics adoption will go in a newsroom is whether reporters are interested in how their communities experience and respond to journalism.”

👩‍💻 Technology

How The Guardian is making podcasts pay off

After investment in podcasts, The Guardian is seeing increased ad revenues from a new daily 25 minute podcast show, while also driving more people to support the publication through donations and memberships. All of this has been achieved without a paywall - and as we discovered in the GEN article above, the publication has no plans to implement one.

Automated news: Machines are definitely not replacing journalists (at least not yet)

A report from WAN-IFRA takes a look at the benefits and pitfalls of news automation and machine journalism. The general consensus is that the current state of automated content saves time on repetitive tasks and helps to increase output, without putting jobs at risk. Inevitably, the bigger concerns are about the future of this technology!

🤷 WTF?

The New York Times wants to know your religion, marital status, Insta handle and hobbies...

A new initiative is asking readers to fill out a form detailing their contact info, online presence, occupation, race, political leanings, interests, and more. The publication have stated that this information will be used for journalistic purposes and not for advertising!

#40 — Industry experts weigh in on new business models for journalism

#40 — Industry experts weigh in on new business models for journalism

Welcome back to your weekly digest of the latest news in publishing. This week we’re taking a look at how dynamic paywalls have increased subscription conversation rates, how to diversify your business models, new jobs in the media at WSJ and that time BuzzFeed printed a newspaper!

Want to get in touch or submit an article? Hit reply, or head to publisherweekly.org and use the submit a feature.

💯 Top picks

This publisher increased conversion rates up to five times with dynamic ‘paygates’

News:rewired keynote speaker Rouven Leuener shares his experiences in experimenting with flexible paywalls at Swiss news outlet Neue Zürcher Zeitung. They’re using AI to determine how many articles visitors can read for free based on their behaviour, before putting up a paywall prompt at the “right” time to increase conversion rates.

💸 Business models

New business models for journalism

More insights from news:rewired, an event by journalism.co.uk — Adam Tinworth was liveblogging some of the key takeaways about business models from the event. A must read!

The Atlantic delay their metered paywall again!

The Atlantic first announced a shift to subscriptions in 2017, but have recently delayed it further to the second half of 2019.

New York Media's Pam Wasserstein: We have to diversify from an ad-driven model [Podcast]

This episode of the Digiday Podcast features the CEO of New York Media talking about her experience with revenue diversification. She speaks about having a balance between advertising and other streams and building a sustainable business model as a result.

Luminary has $100 million, top talent, and a mission to make you pay for podcasts. Will it work?

Luminary - a new podcast subscription service - has raised $100 million in venture funding, before even getting a single converted user through the door. Now they’ve got to convince people to pay $8/month without any brand recognition. Industry onlookers are rightfully sceptical about whether they’ll pull this off!

✍️ Modern journalism

WSJ to create a new newsroom and lots of new jobs

“The slate of new jobs includes developers, designers, product managers, data specialists, and also, crucially, journalists.”

News organisations, technology companies and citizens must take responsibility for restoring trust

Knight Foundation released a report titled Crisis in Democracy: Renewing Trust in America that puts forward some solutions for the lack of trust in the media. Some of the suggestions include radical transparency amongst journalists and supporting non-profit and local news.

Journalism’s Dunbar number: Audience scales, community does not

“News is not the best business model. It is expensive to gather, risky to publish and it depreciates in value faster than an ice cube on a summer day.” Damon Kiesow writes about success in local news and community requiring an active role in engaging with your readers.

Stories: the format publishers need to take seriously

The growth of the stories format on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have captured a large, youthful audience. These stories form reader habits which encourage retention. Twipe investigate how publishers can utilise this format, with examples from the NYT, The Guardian and more!

👩‍💻 Technology

Zuckerberg says the future is private messaging, not public posts

Mark Zuckerberg wrote a Facebook notes post about a privacy-focused future for Facebook, where he suggests he wants to align Facebook around private and encrypted messaging, rather than public sharing. Industry experts weigh in on the impact this will have on the future of news, information and misinformation.

Data driven journalism for local newsrooms: it’s possible!

Cheryl Phillips, Professor in Professional Journalism at Stanford University answers questions about the use of data in journalism for newsrooms of all shapes and sizes in this Global Editors Network interview.

🤷 WTF?

BuzzFeed printed a newspaper for one day only

Commuters in New York were able to get their hands on a limited print edition of BuzzFeed, featuring Momo erotic fan art and a GIF in print form!

#39 — 500k to 80m readers in one year, how Forbes transformed The Memo

#39 — 500k to 80m readers in one year, how Forbes transformed The Memo

A big welcome to our new subscribers from Product Hunt ❤️

ICYMI: we announced Publisher Weekly with a brand new siteand a handpicked collection of resources for building and running a publishing business.


It’s March already and it’s been a busy year so far in the world of digital publishing. As we put together this weekly curation of the most important stories, we’re seeing more and more quality content about emerging business models and modern journalism. We’re keeping up to date with all of it and sharing the best bits with you.

Enjoy your weekly publishing reading!

– Team Ghost

💯 Top picks

From 500k to 80m readers in one year: how Forbes transformed The Memo [Podcast]

“Alex Wood, Europe editor at Forbes, talks about how selling his business news website to the US publisher widened its audience, increased diversity of its contributors and brought newfound digital innovation.”

💸 Business models

Mozilla are exploring alternative funding models

The online advertising ecosystem is broken” says Mozilla. The organisation behind Firefox have announced that they are looking into alternative funding models, including an official partnership with Scroll, a subscription service that offers ad-free viewing to fund essential journalism.

Should the state pay for journalism? [Video]

Former Editor-in-chief at HuffPostUK, Digital Editor at The Guardian and director of media at British Red Cross, Polly Curtis, discusses whether the state should pay for journalism in a live stream presentation at Reuters Institute Oxford.

Medium lowers its paywall for Twitter users

Medium CEO and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams announced that Medium will be removing its paywall for readers that visit via Twitter. He also stated that if this impacts their paid subscription base negatively, then this might change in the future!

Unraveling metrics, subscription models to identify reader revenue [Podcast]

We recently listened to this podcast that was published late last year: Gwen Vargo, director of reader revenue at the American Press Institute, shares insights about how reader metrics should be at the core a successful digital newsroom.

✍️ Modern journalism

Want to start a collaborative journalism project? Here's some new tools that might help

ProPublica are announcing new tools, documentation and training to help news organisations collaborate on data journalism projects.

The Washington Post announces the launch of the Jamal Khashoggi Fellowship

“The fellowship will provide an independent platform for journalists and writers to offer their perspectives from parts of the world where freedom of expression is threatened or suppressed. The Post has named Hala Al-Dosari, an award-winning activist, scholar and writer from Saudi Arabia, the first Jamal Khashoggi fellow.”

Media layoffs are majorly impacting freelancers!

Are freelancers the biggest casualty after mass media layoffs? This article takes a look at how the current state of employment in the media shapes freelance labour.

Poll: How does the public think journalism happens?

Research from Columbia Journalism Review in partnership with Reuters/Ipsos has produced a bunch of charts from a poll of over 4000 American adults to uncover the state of public trust in news and the media.

👩‍💻 Technology

What you need to know before starting your crowdfunding campaign

It’s the year of crowdfunding for journalism: Recent examples like The Correspondent or Tortoise show how it has become a tool for journalists and newsrooms to finance their ventures.

CERN recreated the original WorldWideWeb browser for you to try out

The birthplace of the modern internet is the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, when engineers proposed the first HyperText browser 30 years ago. A group of CERN developers have recreated that original browser interface, allowing users to see what the internet was at the very beginning.

🤷 WTF?

A tax on digital ad spend (*cough* Facebook and Google) could bring in $2 billion for journalism

Could a tax on billions of targeted ad dollars be what it takes to help support journalism of value? Advocacy group Free Press have some interesting thoughts about this – read the full paper here: “Beyond Fixing Facebook

#38 — Subscriptions, subsidies, and pressure on platforms in 2019

#38 — Subscriptions, subsidies, and pressure on platforms in 2019

We're back with the past week's roundup of the most important stories about publishing, journalism and the media. Welcome to our newest subscribers – you're joining a discerning group of people who are interested in the future of publishing. We're all in this together!

This week we've got plenty of articles about subscription business models, why tech platforms need to focus on good journalism, an overview of the benefits of visual storytelling and much more.

Thanks for the support and enjoy this weeks top reads 👉


💯 Top picks

The news industry is refocusing attention away from Facebook and over 52% of those who participated in this Reuters Institute study expect subscriptions and memberships to be the focus this year. There are also some worries that these funding models will have some limitations, and there will need to be more subsidies for quality news. Full report here!

💸 Business models

Building subscriptions and memberships for quality journalism: How Tribune Publishing, The Guardian, and Slate did it

The Lenfest Institute have published a 16-page study backed with data from Slate, The Guardian and Tribune Publishing about how they’ve each tackled reader revenue with a strong focus on valuing good journalism.

Magazine publishers race to capitalise on the paywall trend

“Amid changing consumer perceptions toward paid content, publishers embrace both new and tested methods for marketing subscriptions and reducing churn.”

Texas Monthly launch a metered paywall

Here’s an example of a publication taking ownership of their business model and simply asking their readers to pay for quality content. Dan Goodgame, Editor in Chief at Texas Monthly, wrote this letter to their readers to “do what our print subscribers have done for 46 years”.

Medium is spinning up 4 new independent publications

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same thing they did - in some form - with The Awl, The Hairpin, The Ringer, Pacific Standard, Backchannel, Matter, Electric Lit, Femsplain, The Billfold, The Development Set, and more — all of which were subsequently spun-out, laid-off, or shut down with little-to-no warning. So many people are becoming increasingly skeptical about the approach.

✍️ Modern journalism

Knight pledges $300 million to local news, free speech, and media literacy organisations

“Among the grantees: The American Journalism Project gets $20 million, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press gets $10 million, and The News Literacy Project gets $5 million. And there’s more, lots more.”

In a high-choice media culture, what do news readers really want to read about

Another Reuters Institute report based on a qualitative research method about how relevance works for news audiences and how readers decide what news to engage with across multiple devices and platforms.

10 insights on the state of visual storytelling in 2019

Take a look at the latest in editorial design and immersive digital storytelling with thoughts from 10 industry leaders in editorial, journalism and content.

👩‍💻 Technology

Why tech platforms need to be built on journalistic values

“It’s the reason your feed is overrun with click-bait, why serious or controversial stories lack context, why stories don’t receive proper attribution, and stories with false information gain momentum. This is what we’re facing right now.”

First signs of a subscription model for podcasts

Since podcasts are usually consumed via an app, listeners have formed consumption habits which makes it difficult for publishers to offer premium audio. But this may be changing with new business models emerging for podcast content including subscription, early-access and member only!

Verification tools: Placing trust in humans, robots or both of them?

The Global Editors Network’s programme are building a free Media Literacy Toolkit for Newsrooms around Europe to help journalists take ownership of their work and fight misinformation, with inspiration from other tools such as NewsGuard and Factmata.

🤷 WTF?

Google says it’s fighting misinformation, but how hard?

The search giant recently presented a white paper detailing the steps they are taking to fight misinformation at YouTube, Google News and Google Search - including relying on human curators to determine high-quality content.

#37 — Apple are launching a subscription for news service

#37 — Apple are launching a subscription for news service

It’s been another busy week in the publishing news, with the latest stories about business models including resistance to Apple’s plans to launch a subscription news service, interesting insights from more publishers who are actively growing memberships and a new take on hyper-local news. Enjoy!

Want to submit an article or send feedback? Reply to this email to start the conversation!

💯 Top picks

"A subscriber is paying for the regular delivery of well-defined value"

An excellent summary of the shift in business models and thoughts about what the subscription business model actually means from Ben Thompson of Stratechery. This week’s must read!

💸 Business models

Apple plans to keep 50% of subscription revenue from their new 'Netflix for news' service

Oh… and they likely won’t share customer data! Apple are running into some serious resistance from publishers at these proposed financial terms of their new subscription service for news.

How The Telegraph pairs user registration and paid subscriptions

The UK publisher shifted from a metered paywall to a variable paywall three years ago with 20% of its content being premium and gated. They’ve also introduced new features that allow readers to save articles and follow their favourite journalists which is proving popular.

Krautreporter collect data using a Slackbot to commission articles that grow membership

Find out how this German publisher is boosting subscriptions by creating stories that people want! They’re using data about what articles convert users to a paid subscription, in addition to qualitative community feedback.

The new local news: Patch is launching paid, “ad-lite” memberships

Patch is an all-digital local news company that used to be owned by AOL. Recently, the outlet seems to represent a new type of local news, with 1,200 hyper-local sites turning a profit of $20 million in ad revenue. Now they’re about to launch a paywall too.

✍️ Modern journalism

Journalism isn't dying. It's returning to its roots.

The future of journalism is more partisan and supported by more diverse revenue streams—in other words, like the journalism of 200 years ago.

Are we really going to do the "news bundle" conversation yet again?

“We’re still looking for a ‘magic button’ solution that will solve our revenue woes. And it still doesn’t exist. It isn’t Facebook. It isn’t paywalls. It isn’t a paid news aggregator. But it might include elements of all of these - and more.”

Clicks are an “unreliable seismograph” for a news article’s value — here’s new research to back it up

“People frequently click on stories that are amusing, trivial, or weird, with no obvious civic focus. But they maintain a clear sense of what is trivial and what matters.” See also: the full report from Reuters Institute.

👩‍💻 Technology

TechCrunch announce a new subscription service: Extra Crunch

The digital technology and startup publisher are introducing a new layer of content, coverage and product for their most engaged readers, with premium in-depth articles behind a paywall. Sounds great for TechCrunch fans, not least because “Extra Crunch” sounds like a type of breakfast cereal 🙃

Google News is one of the biggest news platforms on the internet, and it's broken!

Owen Williams discusses the flaws with the often unnoticed news platform, Google News. Figuring out how to get featured in the news carousel in the search results is “a mysterious process with hidden rules, gotchas and changing goal posts, designed only to allow the largest, well-known of publishers in.”

🤷 WTF?

Google wants to make it harder for sites to detect that you’re using Chrome’s Incognito Mode

Chrome Incognito is a go-to for those who value privacy, but you may be surprised to know that there has long been a flaw that can be abused by developers, which Google are finally looking to fix!

#36 — Can emerging business models save all digital media?

#36 — Can emerging business models save all digital media?

Welcome back to issue #36 of Publisher Weekly! This week we’ve got some research-driven takeaways about how to drive retention in subscription media, thoughts on whether emerging business models can save media companies, some exciting announcements from the podcast industry, as well as what the future holds for outlets such as BuzzFeed and Vice following the huge layoffs.It’s been a busy week - enjoy!

💯 Top picks

Subscribers who visit your site frequently are more likely to stick around than those who read articles in depth

A new piece of research from Medill Local News Initiative at Northwestern suggests that ensuring your readers build a habit and engage with your content frequently will have the biggest impact on subscription retention. For good measure, here’s another summary of this research from Twipe, including some ideas for helping your readers to build a daily habit.

💸 Business models

Can subscriptions save all media companies, or just the New York Times?

“Not only is the subscription model demonstrating extremely encouraging early returns, it is a sane and comprehensible form of business: you make something, and then you sell that thing.”

Vox.com tries a membership program with a twist: It’s focused on video and entirely on YouTube

A new program called Vox Video Lab invites Vox.com fans to get access to exclusive behind-the-scenes video content explaining Vox’s process and a monthly live Q&A with a producer. For a $9.99 subscription you’ll also get access to a quarterly Google Hangout - and their first meeting was a success!

Scroll acquires the news-reading app Nuzzel to improve the online news experience

Scroll is a $5/month ad-free news reading experience that will launch later this year. CEO Tony Haile wants to provide curators with a way to sustain themselves, so they acquired Nuzzel, an app that creates a news feed of the people you follow on Twitter with an added newsletter feature that allows users to send emails containing the stories they’re most interested in.

The Correspondent's success was no accident!

Instead, its success is a result of diligent planning and putting forward more inclusive journalism with readers at the centre. Check out the Membership Puzzle Project’s take on the most participatory journalism crowdfunding project in history!

✍️ Modern journalism

The New York Times is getting close to becoming a majority-digital company

The Times becomes less reliant on print revenues every quarter, with over 40 percent of total revenue from digital and a boost in revenue coming from additional channels such as affiliate revenue and digital licensing.

Following layoffs, Vice Media signals an end to its freewheeling days

After cutting 10 percent of headcount of 2,500 employees, Vice Media are looking to spin a different story as the company reduces costs and charts revenue growth.

BuzzFeed's business is still growing, but with more competition and pressure to diversify

Despite the recent layoffs, BuzzFeed is growing, except now they’re dealing with a new reality: increasing competition. Interestingly, they’re still embracing programmatic and display ads and diversifying in that area, while building a commerce team and affiliate team!

👩‍💻 Technology

Happy anniversary, Facebook: Snopes quit your fact-checking partnership

“It doesn’t seem like we’re striving to make third-party fact checking more practical for publishers — it seems like we’re striving to make it easier for Facebook. At some point, we need to put our foot down and say, 'No. You need to build an API.'”

Spotify’s purchase of Gimlet could change the future of podcasting

Spotify’s announcement that it would purchase the podcast network Gimlet Media for close to $230 million has raised excitement (and many questions) about the future of the podcasting industry!

Substack makes moves into paid podcasts

Substack have announced that they’re moving into paid podcasts by enabling audio publishing inside their newsletter tool. Curators will be able to embed links to audio media in their emails, which can be accessed (and listened to) via the browser for paying subscribers.

🤷 WTF?

Jeff Bezos stands up for journalism and exposes the National Enquirer

Jeff Bezos shared a remarkable post on Medium exposing the National Enquirer for blackmailing him with details about his personal life. He writes about his unswerving stewardship of the Washington Post and support of its mission as the reason behind his decision.

#35 — The internet is killing (internet) journalism

#35 — The internet is killing (internet) journalism

This weeks issue of the latest news in publishing brings you stories about an upcoming magazine subscription service from Apple, a historical take on why there have been so many layoffs in digital media and an insight into the biggest complaint from subscribers: when a news site won’t keep them logged in!

We love to hear your recommendations & comments: hit reply to start the conversation 📥

💯 Top picks

Why leading publishers invest more in engagement than in acquisition

“Gone are the days of simply tracking the number of pageviews, today publishers need to track the actual engagement of their readers. Even tracking the number of subscribers can lead publishers astray if not linked to retention and lifetime value”

💸 Business models

Digital-born news outlets emphasise quality journalism over ‘clickbait’ to build paying audiences

A Reuters Institute study on digital media outlets shares a lot of important learnings for the year ahead. This page has a great short summary if you don’t want to read the whole thing, but in case you missed the full report last month, we highly recommend giving it some reading time!

Guardian editor: Paywall 'not really a conversation' anymore as donations model gives advantage of scale

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief at the Guardian says she wouldn’t rule anything out, but for now readers are choosing to pay for “serious reporting” with a donations model that provides more opportunity for growth and lives up to their values.

Apple preparing News app in iOS 12.2 for new magazine subscription service

The rumours about an Apple news subscription service have escalated after the first beta release of the latest iOS for developers includes features related to the new service, which is set to allow customers to subscribe to an all-in-one package for magazines, tv and music.

✍️ Modern journalism

BBC & The New York Times — where research meets the news

Global Editors Network take a look into what happens at the Research & Development teams of large news outlets to find out what direction they see news and technology heading next.

We now go live to BuzzFeed's 'Ask Jonah Anything' Slack channel

After an extremely painful week with imminent large scale layoffs, Jonah Peretti, CEO at BuzzFeed, opened up an AMA style Slack channel and some of the conversations were leaked and shared here!

The crisis facing American journalism did not start with the internet!

Newspaper conglomerates “failing to adapt” has culminated in the current climate in the news & media - and it’s been on the cards for decades.

2009: The internet is killing (print) journalism. 2019: The internet is killing (internet) journalism

Are there any sustainable and scalable models for digital news? Former Time magazine foreign correspondent Jeff Israely explores this and why we can’t blame it all on the duopoly.

Newspapers cost more than twice as much today as they did a decade ago!

After the collapse of print advertising, newspapers were forced to increase prices to keep things going and keep journalists in employment. Take a dive into the strategic moves being played in the printed news today in this well-researched piece.

👩‍💻 Technology

Inside.com hit 750K subscribers and launch brand new newsletters on Product Hunt

Inside.com turned to Product Hunt to announce $2.6M in new funding and the addition of 20 new email newsletters. This takes them to a grand total of 50 curated newsletters covering cities, industries and companies!

The New Yorker is having trouble keeping paying subscribers logged in

With about two-thirds of its revenue coming from subscribers, The New Yorker is focussed on growing digital subscriptions. But they have just one little technical issue: they can’t figure out the bug that’s causing people to get logged out continuously.

🤷 WTF?

BuzzFeed laid off its Director of Quizzes because lots of people are willing to make quizzes for free

BuzzFeed quizzes have been popular for some time and generating revenue for the outlet, but what we didn’t perhaps consider until the recent layoffs is that the majority of them are created by unpaid community members.

#34 — That week with the mass layoffs :(

#34 — That week with the mass layoffs :(

It’s been a tough week in media, with hundreds of reporters being laid off and media investment cuts. You can catch up with the most important highlights in this weeks issue. Also included: Patreon just keeps growing, more and more publishers are planning paywalls and email is more important than ever.

Get at it here 👉

💯 Top picks

The big story this week

This week in media may go down in history as we saw several young startups laying off staff and losing funding. First BuzzFeed announced that it would be laying off 15 percent of its staff, followed by Verizon Media Group announcing layoffs of up to 800 employees which could affect publications like HuffPost, Techcrunch and many others.If that wasn’t enough doom and gloom, investment group WarnerMedia have shut down its investment arm that has previously backed digital media startups such as Mashable.

Many of these new-media startups that were for some years seen as the modern success story, have fallen into the trap of not living up to investor expectations. Is it time to shake things up and move away from huge media orgs, and on to something more sustainable?

💸 Business models

Patreon hits growth milestones with 3 million patrons & expects to pay out more than half a billion this year

Patreon is growing fast, and now has 3 million patrons supporting over 100,000 creators each month. The platform is expected to pay out more than half a billion to creators this year.

How many paying subscribers do you need to keep a money-losing magazine afloat

Arkansas Life are strong advocates of keeping a quality printed publication alive, and are using paid digital subscriptions to keep theirs going. They even sent a letter to readers warning the magazine would cease to exist unless more readers became subscribers…

Condé Nast to put every publication behind a paywall by end of 2019

Magazine publisher Conde Nast announced plans to put all of its U.S. titles, from GQ to Vogue to Glamour, behind a paywall this year.

The future book is here & why email is crucial tech for publishers to invest time into

This is a long, interesting read with deep insight into how the book publishing industry has changed over the years, and why email is so important today. There’s lots of parallels in here for publishers of all kinds.

✍️ Modern journalism

THREAD: Journalism Professor gives a digestible refresh of media history

In light of the recent media news, Jeremy Littau takes a step back to explain history’s part in all of this in a Twitter thread. Add this to your must read list!

It doesn’t take a ton of nasty comments to sink a reader’s perception of a news site

“This research suggests people make judgments about a news site based on the predominant tone of the comments, not on whether the first comments are civil or uncivil.”

Reuters Institute: Five things everybody needs to know about the future of journalism

Reuters have stated that “journalism is becoming more important but less robust” and have shared five things they believe everyone needs to know alongside this in-depth report.

👩‍💻 Technology

How LiveJournal pioneered (then lost) blogging

Take a trip down memory lane and read this engaging piece about how LiveJournal paved the way for independent publishing known as blogging long before competitors like Tumblr and social media entered the space.Fun fact: LiveJournal was (and still is) so popular in Russia that the the Russian translation of its name serves as a shorthand way to describe blogging — just as Google is a synonym for “search”.

🤷 WTF?

Will Google pull its news service from the EU?

The Google News service could be pulled from Europe entirely, as regulators are working toward a controversial copyright law that gives publishers the right to demand money from large organisations who publish fragments of their articles in search results.

#33 — No, tech companies shouldn't fund journalism

#33 — No, tech companies shouldn't fund journalism

Welcome to this weeks news in publishing. In this issue there’s a great round up of interesting articles, twitter threads as well as a new free resource for building successful email newsletters!

Enjoy 👉

💯 Top picks

How The Correspondent exceeded its $2.5 million crowdfunding goal

The English-language expansion of the Dutch news site smashed through the goal for its crowdfunding campaign, beating a $2.5 million target by more than $100,000. Here’s how.

💸 Business models

THREAD: Thoughts on membership strategy from a publication making $3k/mo in recurring revenue

Tiago Forte, editor at Praxis added a paywall to his blog and openly shares his thoughts on membership and the future of this business model.

How New York magazine thinks about having one paywall across multiple verticals

“We wanted to take these three different segments and treat them differently and be flexible enough to really target the people who are most likely to convert, rather than have a blanket rule across every site, every user, and treat them all equally.”

A complete guide for taking your newsletters to the next level – grow your list, make money & more!

Check out this free resource packed with information about how to build a successful monetised newsletter, complete with open source templates that are ready to use.

✍️ Modern journalism

THREAD: Publications aren't cutting jobs because they're losing audience. They're cutting jobs because of tech!

This thread by Brian EdwardsTiekert about the economics of news in 2019 is a must read - it’s packed with articles from important historical events that have shaped the news of today.

The FT is building brand loyalty among young readers by giving schools free access

The Financial Times runs a program that lifts the paywall for participating schools to give young readers access to their content. The publisher is cultivating relationships with teachers via an email newsletter to promote engagement with the program.

👩‍💻 Technology

No, tech companies shouldn’t fund journalism

Facebook recently announced that it would spend $300 million in the next three years funding journalism partnerships and programs. This opinion piece on Columbia Journalism Review discusses how this could be bad for journalism as a whole.

🤷 WTF?

Netflix is finally sharing (some of) its audience numbers. Several of them are huge.

With more than 130 million people watching TV on Netflix, the company has refused for years to release their audience metrics to the public. A recent announcement sharing some of this data for the first time suggests that Netflix could already account for a full 10% of TV viewing time.

#32 — Customer satisfaction in the news

#32 — Customer satisfaction in the news

Running a little late, this week’s issue contains insights from consumers about paying for content, learnings about customer satisfaction in the news and a compelling story about why you should ditch the concept of ‘inbox zero’. Got any feedback or suggestions for this weekly digest in 2019?

Reply to this email, we’d love to hear from you 📥

💯 Top picks

Insights on reader willingness to pay for online news

In a post-funding crisis world in journalism where publishers are quickly searching for alternative revenue streams, Twipe took on the task of surveying 4000 consumers to find out how they feel about paying for online news and content. Here’s what they found!

💸 Business models

The Sun uses first-party data from 800,000 members to inform alternative revenue streams

British tabloid The Sun amassed large subscriber numbers when it had a content paywall on the site, and uses this data to inform branded content, affiliate and ad revenue. Since then, they’ve pivoted to an unusual strategy: offering members vouchers for buying the print newspaper that can be spent at partnering establishments.

Nearly a third of publishers agree: No one’s coming to help them

Well, except maybe Google? The 2019 NiemanLab predictions for the coming year are in, and the main thing everyone agrees on is: All eyes are on subscriptions.

Piano raises $22M Series B round led by updata partners

One of the hottest enterprise ‘content monetisation and audience technology’ companies around, Piano raises $22M Series B round led by Updata Partners. Competition is definitely warming up in this space.

✍️ Modern journalism

Campaign journalism needs an overhaul. Here’s one radical idea!

“We should all resolve to spend less time, or perhaps no time at all, on horse race polls that project forward to the 2020 presidential election,” — so what should be done instead?

11 important lessons about news customer satisfaction

During 2018, the news media industry focused on personalisation and pricing models as opportunities for customer retention. What did we learn to take into 2019?

Google and the press: The difficult path towards a balanced cooperation

“No one knows exactly how much money Google spends to support the news media … My rough estimate would put it above the half-billion dollar mark over the last six years.”

👩‍💻 Technology

Inbox zero or inbox infinity? Here's why you should stop replying to your emails

Whether you’re an email minimalist or live your life with “1,292 unread messages” (how do you live like that) — here’s why you should probably just stop worrying about replying altogether. Deep breaths. Change is hard.

Why this German publisher is trying to build a hyperlocal social network

“We’re trying to build a hybrid between a local newspaper and a local social network,” Penthin said. “We learned hyperlocal life is more than just the exchange; it’s ‘I want to know what’s going on and perhaps I can participate in it’…We said we need a partner, we need journalists, a hyperlocal newsroom which is the driver of the community.”

🤷 WTF?

How apps installed on millions of Android phones tracked user behavior to execute a multimillion-dollar ad fraud scheme

A BuzzFeed News investigation uncovered a sophisticated ad fraud scheme involving more than 125 Android apps and websites, some of which were targeted at kids.

✨ In other news

Ghost on the JAMstack – Future-proof Professional Publishing

Here at Ghost, we’ve just launched a new API which makes Ghost a fully headless CMS, so it can be used with any front-end or static site generator, no longer just limited to Ghost themes. There’s a lot about this technology stack that feels like the future of modern publishing, and journalism tech.

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Anders Norén
@andersnoren
Received a good first issue of the Publisher Weekly newsletter from @TryGhost to read with my morning coffee. I recommend you give it a try:
publisher.ghost.org
5:07 AM - 4 Jun 2018
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Andy McIlwain
@andymci
Publisher Weekly - Issue #29 publisher.ghost.org/issues/publisher-weekly-issue-29-149526… via @revue (Further props to @TryGhost for the newsletter. 90% of the curated stories make their way into my Pocket list. 👍)
5:42 PM - 16 Dec 2018 from Toronto, Ontario
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Jijo Sunny
@jijosunny
Thanks for the votes! I recommend this newsletter by @TryGhost (@JohnONolan) for thoughtful takes on publishing, subscription biz and future of creators: publisher.ghost.org
4:38 PM - 8 Jul 2018
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