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#119 — The high privacy cost of free websites & notes on membership

#119 — The high privacy cost of free websites & notes on membership

This week: More ideas about membership, more journalists carving their own path and more tips about building community and growing your newsletter. Enjoy this weeks reading/listening and feel free to forward to a friend!

💯 Top picks

Notes on membership

Last week the Membership Puzzle Project shared a new guide on memberships. This short collection of notes from the director of that project, Jay Rosen, is a great insight into the differences between subsidy systems (like advertising and government funded journalism) and direct payments via subscriptions.

💸 Business models

Casey Newton on leaving The Verge and the future of tech journalism

Sarah Jeong talks to Newton about the details of his deal, subscription journalism, and what makes email such a good media format

The art of retention through community building

"It’s time for publishers to take their brands off the page and screen, and integrate them into people’s lives to keep the subscribers they’ve attracted during the pandemic and build long-term loyalty, says Hayley James, Vice President at Sense New York."

How I ran an NPR-style pledge drive to grow my newsletter

"The specific strategies can vary, but in most cases the publisher, for some period of time ranging anywhere from a week to a month, will cut its subscription prices while simultaneously bombarding the audience with a large volume of messages encouraging them to subscribe."

In reader revenue, it’s all about who you know

"For news organizations betting the future on consumer revenue, there might not be a more important key performance indicator than known readers."

✍️ Modern journalism

Media collective gal-dem survived losing 75% of its revenue

"Personal essays, wellbeing content and the launch of its membership programme allowed gal-dem to overcome the loss of three-quarters of its revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

News about politics bums you out and can make you feel ill — but it also makes you take action

"Who would buy a product that reliably makes them sad, or anxious, or worried, or overwhelmed?"

💻 Technology

The high privacy cost of a “free” website

"Trackers piggybacking on website tools leave some site operators in the dark about who is watching or what marketers do with the data."

Audio articles help Zetland gain 2,000 new members

"Four in five features by the Danish slow journalism outlet are consumed as reporter-narrated audio stories that 'have that campfire feel to them' rather than as written content, fuelling success of its membership programme."

Should publishers focus on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram?

Some large publishers like The Economist and The Evening Standard have very successful strategies for these platforms.

[Video] AMP for email: Everything you need to know

April Mullen and Jen Capstraw share everything you need to know about the next "big thing" in email.

🤷 WTF?

How work became an inescapable hellhole

"Instead of optimizing work, technology has created a nonstop barrage of notifications and interactions. Six months into a pandemic, it's worse than ever."

#118 — 3 years of membership research in one place

#118 — 3 years of membership research in one place

In this week's roundup you'll find examples of publishers exceeding subscriber numbers, a podcast about growing your newsletter as well as tips for how to write almost anything and how to setup successful paid campaigns. Enjoy your Sunday reading!

💯 Top picks

The Membership Handbook is here

The Membership Puzzle Project have released a guide, which includes everything they know after three years of studying and supporting membership models in news. It has everything from getting started, to launching and beyond. Bookmark this one!

💸 Business models

[Podcast] Newsletter growth tips with Brandon Zhang of Weekly Wisdom

Newsletter Crew chat with with Brandon Zhang about reaching 1,000 subscribers and whether Gen Z are even reading newsletters.

Membership, revenue and subscriptions: Insights from TU Media and Die Zeit

"TU Media and Die Zeit might be worlds apart in terms of focus but they share one common success story – extremely effective subscriber strategies."

How The Atlantic amassed over 300,000 paying subscribers

The Atlantic launched a new paywall last September and now has more than 300,00 paying subscribers.

The Economist has tripled the number of subscribers driven by LinkedIn

Over the last two years, The Economist has grown its followers on LinkedIn by almost 40%, implemented a new LinkedIn strategy, and turned many of those visitors into subscribers.

✍️ Modern journalism

How to write (almost) anything, from a great joke to a killer cover letter

"There’s an old saying attributed to legendary sports journalist Red Smith: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” The technology may have changed since the 1940s; the painful parts, unfortunately, haven’t."

Journalists can help people tell their own stories by talking less, listening more

“Our role is facilitator instead of interpreter, catalyst instead of judge”

💻 Technology

Setting up paid campaign creatives for success

"When it comes to running successful paid campaigns, your creatives are the primary driver of success or failure."

A more intimate way of consuming journalism: An audio-only app

"The Correspondent, famous for their 2018 ‘unbreak the news’ crowdfunding campaign, are branching out into audio to bring their journalism to members in new ways."

🤷 WTF?
We're numb to the coronavirus

We're over COVID even if it isn't over us.


#117 — Don't forget about community

#117 — Don't forget about community

The latest stories, updates, and ideas for independent publishers, delivered every Sunday 📫     ‌

Happy weekend and thanks for stopping by. In this week's issue, you can discover how to harness social media for your publication, how to build a community to sustain recurring revenue, and find out why the publishing industry is buzzing after a period of uncertainty.

Feel free to forward to a friend who might like to subscribe — or share Publisher Weekly on Twitter. We really appreciate your support ❤️

💯 Top picks

Subscriptions are fine, but a community can give you more

"Getting people to pay for content is good enough, but building a deeper relationship can be so much better."

Jacob Cohen Donnelly writes about the benefits of subscriptions as a recurring revenue stream, and makes a case for community being the method you should use to keep those subscribers around.

💸 Business models

The business model that was broken is being re-made through technology

More people are consuming news more frequently, Australian media report finds.

With 64,000 digital subscribers, El País accounts for a quarter of news subscriptions in Spain

El País announced on Monday that it has nearly 110,000 subscribers. Of those, 64,200 are digital-only, 37,923 are print and digital, and 7,842 are to Kiosko y Más, the digital version of the print newspaper. About 20% of those subscribers are from outside of Spain.

How the i newspaper doubled its Instagram following in a year

In light of Instagram usage doubling since 2018, publishers are trying to figure out how to utilise the platform to reach their goals. Journalism.co.uk interviews the social media editor of the online newspaper i to find out how they distribute news on Instagram.

✍️ Modern journalism

Limited Podcast series: Original reporting

The Nieman Foundation recently launched Original Reporting, a limited podcast series looking at the creation and business of journalism.

The buzz is back in the publishing industry

"Publications are bouncing back, eCommerce is surging, ad spend is looking up, and there’s a sense of optimism in the air."

The Code – The most important document that defines the heart and soul of your publication

Tommy Walker was put in charge of running the Shopify Plus blog and wanted to give all authors who were hired to write for the publication a solid set of guidelines. The result of this—The Code—has now been shared in full on Tommy's website, and it's packed with useful inspiration for all types of publishers.

💻 Technology

59% of Google users only visit a single page, and other surprising search insights for publishers

"Two recent studies on how people use Google search have thrown up some surprising findings for publishers."

We haven't seen an infographic for a hot minute, but here's a new one about the latest trends in Facebook and Instagram advertising.

🤷 WTF?

A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?

The Guardian asked GPT-3, OpenAI’s powerful new language generator, to write an essay from scratch.

#116 — Solo writers share their secrets

#116 — Solo writers share their secrets

Happy Sunday everyone — if you're new here, welcome!

This week we've got a new article on the Ghost blog, insights about pricing strategies and building a business, as well as this week's top tech tips and more! Don't forget, you can always revisit past issues on the website, and you can also hit reply to chat with us. Let us know what brings you to Publisher Weekly!

💯 Top picks

After the paycheque is gone: Successful solo writers share their secrets

Robert Andrews wrote this insightful article for the Ghost blog this week. It's full of real examples of successful solo writers, and takes this topic one step further by outlining all the things that have contributed to their success after launching an independent business. Don't miss this one if you really want to know what it's like to be a solopreneur writer!

💸 Business models

[Podcast] Pricing strategies for uncertain times

We're probably going to be looking back and learning things from our collective experience of a pandemic for some time. In this podcast Rafi Mohammed, founder of the consulting firm Culture of Profit, says a crisis or recession is not the time to panic and slash prices. (Transcript available, if that's more your thing).

111% more article clicks: Facebook’s new feature can help publishers build engagement

"Facebook is testing a new feature that allows paying news subscribers to link their Facebook accounts to their subscriptions. Once they have done that, such users will not be required to log in to their news subscription account in order to view articles from those publishers."

Building a media business for the future

"We may be calling this the new normal but the only thing that is new and normal now is that change of all kinds, in all areas of our business, is accelerating."

Quartz explains how it doubled subscriber numbers in a year

"Quartz recently breached 21,000 paying members, almost doubling its subscriber base in less than a year. Katie Weber, president of Quartz, explains how the publisher has been growing its paid proposition at an accelerated rate during a pandemic."

✍️ Modern journalism

The urgency of growth for nonprofit news

"Consider this an invitation and a permission slip to nonprofit news leaders to start thinking bigger, whether it’s expanding to serve new communities or scaling coverage of a state or a region."

Listen up: Lessons from award-winning publisher podcasts

The Media Voices podcast got together with 250 publishing and media professionals to celebrate their podcasts, and had a panel of judges pick 12 category winners to feature in this series about how they've found success and sustainable revenue streams.

💻 Technology

Google Images is making it easier to license photos

Google says it’ll help users find images more “responsibly”

Chrome's new heavy ads ad-blocker catches some people by surprise

"Google Chrome this week began rolling out a new feature designed to block ads that use an “egregious” amount of network bandwidth or battery power — an update that has caught some publishers on the back foot."

10 ways for newsrooms to get the most out of their SaaS products

"If you are a product manager, digital managing editor, corporate staff member, or audience development director, these tips will definitely improve the quality of the products you use."

🤷 WTF?

Google wants to remix news radio just for you

"The company’s latest news product is an ever-replenishing playlist of audio stories—curated, in part, by the wealth of data it has on you."

#115 — How to improve your email newsletters

#115 — How to improve your email newsletters

This week you're in for a treat with tons of stories, advice and free tools about email newsletters. Plus: How to deal with trolls and what makes fake news feel true? Enjoy your weekly curated articles!

We'd love to hear from you! If you're new around here (or even if you're not) hit reply and let us know what brings to you publisher weekly 💌

💯 Top picks

17 non-negotiable things your email newsletter needs right now

Really useful, actionable tips for better newslettering from Ann Handley.

"If your newsletter feels like you’re writing with a taser aimed at your sensitive nibs… you’re doing it wrong."

💸 Business models

‘The second wave’: Publishers see the value of providing education through newsletter courses

"As publishers look for pockets of audience engagement wherever they can find them, limited-run educational newsletters are a gambit gaining some traction."

When one door closes, another opens

In a newsletter from NewStart, we learn how Amy Duncan, who previously worked for Gannett as a vice president, launched a local news site that has attracted more than 1,200 digital subscribers in under 2 years.

Premium tier subscriptions for local news: Ad-free and beyond

"People are paying for ad-free website access, and engaging well with other exclusive features"

Why betting on eCommerce is a good idea for publishers

"eCommerce continues to expand rapidly. It rose by 54% in the UK in July and accounted for 28% of sales, according to a recent GroupM report."

Context > Cadence

"You need to think strategically and empathetically when deciding how often to email your customers."

✍️ Modern journalism

What makes fake news feel true when it isn’t? For one thing, hearing it over and over again

NiemanLab take a look at a new collection of articles about fake news and misinformation by ainer Greifeneder, Mariela Jaffe, Eryn Newman, and Norbert Schwarz. "The book, published by Routledge, is available as a free download or online read (and here it is on Kindle), and it includes a lot of research on why and how people believe false information."

Predominance of toxic comments can damage publishers’ credibility: How to identify and deal with trolls effectively

"Trolls can ruin the way consumers relate to a brand. A 2019 study found that almost 50% of the people would remove themselves from a situation where they have experienced incivility."

💻 Technology

[Free tool] Find your email's Spam Assassin score

This handy tool from Taxi For Email allows you to check your emails before you send them for any words, images or code snippets that might impact your spam score. You can use it as much as you like, for free!

[Free tool] Bulletproof email buttons

Use this quick button builder by Campaign Monitor to grab some code to embed buttons in your emails. Here's one now:

🤷 WTF?

New study: Has ad blocking peaked?

"Despite the majority still having a negative attitude towards online ads, fewer people are annoyed with the ads they are exposed to. At the same time, fewer people are using ad blockers."

#114 — Launching memberships without a large audience

#114 — Launching memberships without a large audience

This week's issue includes a brand new post on the Ghost blog, growth stories from two publishers, a free report that you'll definitely want to check out, and the inevitable eclipse of print!

💯 Top picks

You don't need a huge audience to start a membership business

"For as long as you have the curiosity, the innate stubbornness to push through, and a couple hundred ‘true fans,’ you have everything you need to start a successful paid membership business."

How to start a successful membership business without a huge audience
You can gain serious momentum with your membership business—even with a smaller audience. Find your first 100 true fans, cultivate them, and build a fulfilling and thriving premium community.

💸 Business models

From 6k to 93k YouTube subscribers in 8 months: Inside the Evening Standard’s growth strategy

"At the start of the year, Chris Stone, the Evening Standard’s Executive Producer of Video and Audio challenged his team to grow the newsbrand’s YouTube channel from 6,000 subscribers to 100,000 by October."

Quartz passes 20,000 paid members

Quartz publish exclusive content for professionals to help them understand the forces reshaping the world, and provides research pieces about the economy. Their premium offering has now attracted more than 21,000 paying members!

It's that time of year when we all start thinking about next year. Or maybe that feeling has come early this year, for obvious reasons. Here's 5 publishing product trends to consider!

✍️ Modern journalism

[Free report] The State of Publishing in 2020

Want to feel optimistic? This report from Keewee outlines trends and growth opportunities on every page of this free report about digital publishing in 2020!

The digital juggernaut, and the eventual, inevitable eclipse of print

"When the Financial Times’ digital subscribers surpassed print for the first time, it was an outlier event. Within about half a decade, the exception is becoming the norm."

Successful Pitches shows freelancers the way

"If you’ve been a journalist for long enough, you’ve probably gotten at least a few requests from aspiring writers asking to pick your brain about how you’ve made your living in the industry."

9 remote interviewing tips for journalists

"At many journalism schools we tend to drill into our students the importance of conducting interviews in person, but that’s just not possible right now, and it might not be for some time."

💻 Technology

Chrome will begin to highlight high-quality user experiences to users, starting with labels on pages which have high page speeds.

Publishers are using audio stories to fuel engagement and generate revenue

We're big fans of The Economist and their audio versions of articles, which are great to listen to during your morning routine. According to this article, these audio editions have been a great success for growth, engagement and retention.

🤷 WTF?

Spotify has a counterfeit podcast problem

Spotify has been caught off-guard by counterfeit shows distributed by its hosting platform, Anchor.

#113 — The passion economy enables a new kind of entrepreneurship

#113 — The passion economy enables a new kind of entrepreneurship

Make sure you don't miss this week's top pick about how to write data-driven stories, and the following article about the passion economy. Also included: Instagram as a search engine, the New York Times has more digital revenue than ever — and Cosmopolitan liken their pricing model to chicken nuggets...

💯 Top picks

Continue, pivot, or put it down!

"Making conscious decisions for when to continue in one direction, when to pivot, and when to leave an idea behind make my published stories so much better."

Get an inside look at The Pudding's writing process for writing data-driven stories.

💸 Business models

The Passion Economy: Why now?

"The Passion Economy is an ever-growing ecosystem of platforms, tools, and systems that enable a new kind of creation-based entrepreneurship on the internet"

Martin Anquetil just started a series of posts on the passion economy, starting with what it is... and why it is important right now. Dive in and find out more about the rise of creators and how new monetisation options are allowing creators to leverage the Passion Economy.

Digital revenue exceeds print for the first time at the NYT

"As much of its staff worked remotely, The Times brought in $185.5 million in revenue for digital subscriptions and ads during the second quarter of 2020, the company announced on Wednesday. The number for print revenue was $175.4 million."

Cosmo, paywalls, and chicken nugget math: The shift toward paid strategies for digital content

"Positioning your price relative to chickens nuggets doesn’t hurt either, especially now that we are getting used to the subscription model for so many of the things we use every day, from grocery deliveries to TV."

How Lenny Rachitsky earned $65,000 in his first year of writing

"I write Lenny's Newsletter. It’s a weekly newsletter that's an advice column for product and growth people, and people dealing with working and stress at the office. I launched about a year ago. I launched paid a few months ago. I'm at about 15,000 free subscribers, 500 paid, and it's making me about $65K a year before fees."

✍️ Modern journalism

How the Rivard Report generates 3x revenue than the average nonprofit newsroom

Here are the five things you should know about why The Rivard Report has been so successful at generating earned revenue.

Q&A: Brady Piñero Walkinshaw, CEO of Grist

CEO of non-profit climate news site Grist shaires their growth story of a 51% increase in revenue after a site relaunch.

💻 Technology

People are using Facebook and Instagram as search engines

"Data voids on social networks are spreading misinformation and causing real world harm. Here are some ideas on how to fix the problem."

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark on why he's donating millions to journalism

"A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy."

Newmark has gone on to donate millions to journalistic programs and schools via Craig Newmark Philanthropies. His beneficiaries include the Poynter Institute, NPR, Consumer Reports and two journalism schools in New York City.

🤷 WTF?

‘There’s no revenue on it’: Why publishers aren’t prioritizing Instagram Reels

Instagram’s TikTok copycat Reels has now been available in the U.S. and 50 other markets for just over a week, but so far many publishers appear to have been reticent to dive in with both feet.

#112 — How publishers can make digital media pay

#112 — How publishers can make digital media pay

Last week everyone was compiling lists of the best independently run newsletters, this week it's lists of ways publishers can make money! We've included the most comprehensive list as this weeks top pick, along with all the other stories we've been reading this week. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

231 ways publishers can make media pay

A huge list of ways to make money from publishing split into areas such as advertising, memberships, partnerships and eCommerce.

💸 Business models

Monetising the 95% of readers that won’t subscribe

"Back when the World Wide Web was first being created, Tim Berners-Lee and his team were responsible for listing the error codes for when things would go wrong, such as error code 404 when a page was not found. Back then it seemed logical that it would be common to require payment for digital content, so they also created error 402: payment required. Nearly 30 years have passed since then and it seems we have only just recently made progress in convincing people to pay for digital content."

Fundamentals of building a reader revenue business model

Many publishers are finding themselves facing challenging questions around building a subscription based business model.

“We must be ruthlessly focused on our readership”: How publishers are growing subscribers with audience-focused strategies

After discovering that 80% of its readers were only reading 26% of its content, Spanish publisher ARA they started working toward understanding their audience better — and have since grown unique users by 38% and page views by 42%.

"So I started Deez Links. It was on TinyLetter. I made the logo in three seconds in MS Paint. It was an extremely lo-fi situation."

✍️ Modern journalism

A running list of when, how —and if — publishers return to the office

"Regardless of when companies are able to reopen their offices, the way shared workspaces will look and operate is likely going to be very different."

Gossip, jobs, freelancing tips and more. Here are some independent media newsletters to follow

A list of the most popular and most fun media newsletters filled with need-to-know info for the journalism industry.

How The Conversation is turning 100 million pageviews into trust in experts

"Of the 100 million views of The Conversation stories in March, a third of those came from other publications who had republished the content, from the BBC to Le Monde, The Washington Post, El Pais, and more."

Newsrooms can prosper with remote work — but they have to make the right adjustments first

A new report  by the International News Media Association offers some insight into how some newsrooms have adapted to remote works and tips for others to make the best of the situation that could become permanent for some media companies."

[Podcast] Lottie Gross, freelance writer, on how to make travel writing work when you cannot travel

"Finding freelance work in a lockdown has been a nightmare for many but travel writing was especially badly hit. Here is how the pandemic forced the industry to reinvent itself"

💻 Technology

Tech in 2023: What will and won’t have changed

"The coronavirus will have a lasting impact on business. But from where we sit today, it is difficult to tell which of the changes sparked by the pandemic will be temporary and which permanent. Will we return to office buildings? Very likely yes. Will we shop in stores as often? Probably not."

Publishers are testing their own versions of Prime Day

"Prime Day has become, for many brands, a significant manufactured shopping holiday, on par with the sales seen during the holiday season."

🤷 WTF?

Get out of your Twitter bubble and into someone else's

Create Twitter lists based on the follows of other uses and get out of your bubble.

#111 — The ad industry keeps losing traction & dozens of journalists build their own newsletters

#111 — The ad industry keeps losing traction & dozens of journalists build their own newsletters

This issue is packed full of interesting articles and podcast episodes. The TL:DR is, the ad industry continues to lose traction, more journalists than ever are choosing an independent path and publishers are finding new ways to drive revenue using free registration walls and first-party data. Enjoy this weeks top reads, we'll see you next time 👋

💯 Top picks

Publishers can use registration walls to drive revenue. This is how.

"A registration wall will quickly identify a publisher’s most loyal and engaged visitors. These super users are much more likely to convert to long term subscribers."

💸 Business models

How media collective Are We Europe launched a membership program while in lockdown

"Revenue from memberships at the pan-European non-for-profit is still small but its financials have never been stronger."

How The FT improved reader habit by 39%

"Three key tips for creating habit forming features, from understanding the problem to using movement and change at the right time and in the right way"

How publishers can drive effective results using their own on-site behavioral data

"Using first-party behavioral data can help identify people who are already familiar with the brand, and then hone in on behaviors that indicate affinity, and finally target those behaviors to drive ROI."

‘A big correction’: Pandemic brings change to ‘bloated’ ad industry

"The marketing business is going through a period of innovation as it sheds workers and tries to hold on to clients."

✍️ Modern journalism

A financially secure career path for journalists as newsroom jobs become scarce

"As newsroom jobs grow scarcer, journalists are building their own platforms via email newsletter"

Digital start-ups: Great local news hope or disappointment?

"As many legacy news outlets struggle to survive, industry analysts are looking to digital start-ups as a promising way to revive coverage of local news. After all, digital-only means you don’t need massive presses or barrels of ink or fleets of trucks. The barriers to publication are low, so there’s great growth potential."

The aftermath of the biggest rebellion in online media

All of the journalists working at the sports-centric website Deadspin resigned as a protest after clashing with bosses. Now, 18 of the 20 who quit have started their own media company, that they will own and operate themselves. It's called Defactor Media and has attracted more than 10,000 subscribers on day one.

[Podcast] Building community around expertise

Chris Waiting, chief executive of The Conversation UK, chats on the Media Voices podcast about the lessons learned from their record-breaking corona coverage.

💻 Technology

How we’re using AI to scale up global fact checking

"With much of the world adapting to a new normal, it is more important than ever that the public is aware of the dangers of false or misleading information on the coronavirus pandemic.

How The New York Times thinks about your privacy

Online privacy is complex, but it doesn’t have to be.

🤷 WTF?

Journalists are quitting Twitter!

"Journalists view Twitter as a valuable platform for finding and sharing information, but many say they wish they used it less."

#110 — The best newsletters on the internet

#110 — The best newsletters on the internet

This week's issue includes articles about how diversified revenue streams are benefitting publishers, membership success stories, Spotify's new video podcast feature, why Google has donated almost $40million to more than 5,600 publishers worldwide.

Thanks for supporting Publisher Weekly. See you next week!

💯 Top picks

80 of the best single-operator newsletters on the internet

There's lots of great reads and inspiration in this post - with 80 of the most popular newsletters (free and paid) ran by individual creators.

💸 Business models

70% experimenting with new sources of revenue: Publishers are trying out new campaign types and revenue streams

"...publishers with diversified monetization strategies are doing much better on average. Across the industry, we’re seeing more and more publishers experimenting with new campaign types and revenue streams, and there are few signs that this trend will slow down anytime soon."

BoiseDev has attracted 800 members in 2 years

Find out how this local news site avoided paywalls, ads and clickbait and attracted 800 paid members by delivering community news for community members.

9% increase in subscriptions during lockdown for Dennis Publishing

"...subscription rates across all titles have increased by 9% overall during the lockdown and ongoing pandemic."

✍️ Modern journalism

As journalism jobs decrease, the future of the discipline might depend on general education

Without a robust news industry monitoring government and investigating the corporate elite, our only hope may be in the hands of the people.

Stop drowning alone, start sailing together

"16 steps for innovative newsrooms to navigate a better future for themselves and their communities"

💻 Technology

Publishers can now determine exactly how much traffic is generated from Google’s News tab

A new feature allows publishers to see precisely how much traffic they're gaining from the news tab. According to Google, it sends visitors to news sites more than 24BN times per month!

Spotify launches video podcasts

The global launch of video podcasts is available to select creators. Unlike YouTube, they're allowing all users to watch podcasts, and the ability to switch between the video and audio when using other apps or when your phone is locked.

Twitter might turn to subscriptions as ad revenue drops sharply

Since seeing a sharp decline in its core advertising business, Jack Dorsey suggests they may be actively looking at additional ways to make money.

“Hurting people  at scale” Facebook’s employees reckon with the social network they’ve built

“We are failing, and what’s worse, we have enshrined that failure in our policies.”

🤷 WTF?

Google has handed out $39.5 million in coronavirus relief to 5,600 publishers across 115 countries

"The money is being applied in diverse and creative ways, from ensuring basic reporting needs and giving emergency stipends to allow reporters to cover the crisis, to driving audience engagement and generating subscriptions."

#109 — The new growth channel: Newsletter referral programs

#109 — The new growth channel: Newsletter referral programs

Happy Sunday! This week's issue includes insights into the latest strategies for paid newsletters and subscription publications, how quitting Facebook ads can actually be a good thing, how to understand your readers in a privacy driven world and much more. Enjoy your reading 😊

💯 Top picks

7 ways COVID has impacted subscription strategies

Seven trends and strategic considerations for subscriptions in the COVID era.

💸 Business models

‘It’s an undervalued growth channel’: Publishers increasingly see high value in newsletter referral programs

Newsletter referral programs have become a popular way for publishers to acquire new subscribers, by offering tangible incentives to readers to recommend a newsletter, such as branded t-shirts, access to a private community or even in some cases by offering revenue share for converted referrals.

We recently launched an integration for Ghost Members with FirstPromoter so that you can launch a paid newsletter, and add a referral program!

For publishers, what’s driving the highest quality users?

"At this point, it’s common knowledge that The Great Upheaval in March caused a huge spike in traffic across the board for publishers. Whether that spike was going to result in long-term growth has been the subject of some debate."

Danish publisher Zetland is driving more new members since quitting Facebook

"Most publishers aren’t bold enough to turn off the taps on their Facebook ad spending. Danish publisher Zetland is one of the few lone actors to do so — and, so far, isn’t suffering for it."

Can publishers stop their journalists from launching email newsletters?

According to reports, many salaried reporters are starting their own newsletters on the side. Simon Owens discusses this "professional grey area" and whether publishers have any real standing to block their reporters from creating their own work.

✍️ Modern journalism

Opinion, news or editorial? Readers often can’t tell the difference

"Confusion about labeling and design fuel reader complaints that opinions, political agendas and bias are creeping into reporters’ work."

Knowing your readers in a privacy-driven world

"Today publishers are faced with two conflicting tasks: on one hand, they need to know their readers in order to build strong relationships while on the other hand publishers need to comply with increasing privacy regulations."

[Thread] Journalists share their best reporting advice

Jeff Maysh: The "Says Who?" read. Re-read your story and after every line, ask: “Says Who?”

Kelly Kennedy: If you think you’re a great writer, you’re wrong. There’s always more. Always.

💻 Technology

Google adds meta descriptions to image search results

In a new feature that's starting this month, you'll be able to tap on image search results on mobile devices to see more information related to the image, as well as featured links. While Google wants to enrich image search results to give people the tools they need to determine if the results are relevant to their search, publishers may be able to tap into a new stream of organic traffic.

How Instagram helps The Economist to reach a new generation

"Instagram has become a key platform for The Economist’s digital growth. As our community passes the 5m mark, it is worth examining how the app — which is opened by our followers a staggering 35 times per day, on average — is enabling us to reach and retain new audiences and develop a different and distinctive storytelling style."

🤷 WTF?

"The company has unveiled a new video series from top creators, designed to help users sniff out misleading videos—and there’s plenty to choose from."

#108 — Passion communities are flourishing

#108 — Passion communities are flourishing

This week we've got an interesting success story, why newsletters are surging, some free resources for publishers from Google, a webinar about being an independent journalist and more. We hope you enjoy this issue!

💯 Top picks

Nathan Tankus's newsletter subscribers don’t care about diplomas

With 450 subscribers generating $45,000 in annual revenue, Nathan Tankus has carved a niche as one of the most popular newsletter publishers writing about economics and finance, with plenty of economists and journalists following and subscribing to Nathan's work, Notes on the Crises.

💸 Business models

Passion communities are flourishing

"The surge in popularity of passion communities largely boils down to two factors: time and opportunity."

50 lessons from writing 50 newsletters

Anne-Laure Le Cunff shares plenty of insights about what it's like to write an email newsletter after publishing the 50th issue of Maker Mind.

Steady subscription strategies for publishers: “This is a full-blown transformation”

Content consumption is growing and people are more willing to pay for content they find worthwhile. This article investigates how this is a full-blown transformation, rather than a passing trend. "The TL;DR is that this is happening, and it seems like it’s here to stay."

Reuters plans to put many articles behind a paywall

"Reuters would become one of the last free news services to adopt a subscription business model, a sign of how much the news industry has shifted away from relying on advertising."

‘If your enemy has all the power, you may as well sleep with them’: Why subscription publishers can’t quit Facebook ads

"It’s clear to see why publishers advertise on Facebook, even if they say they don’t like it very much."

Why the email newsletter is 2020’s MVP format

"Newsletters are surging, and it’s not just a COVID thing"

✍️ Modern journalism

[Resource] GNI Digital Growth Programme: Helping European publishers succeed online

Check out these free workshops, labs and tools to help grow your digital presence, grow your audience, and strengthen your revenue strategies.

[Webinar] Going Solo: When journalists build their own ventures

A fireside-chat style conversation on how journalists build their own ventures with Jennifer 8. Lee and Rose Eveleth. Moderated by Jeremy Caplan from the Newmark J-School.

Creating reader habits with digital editions

Twipe hosted over 200 publishers for a webinar on habit-forming news products. In a poll of webinar attendees, 58.8% shared that they are in the process of updating their editions while 15.5% are creating entirely new edition products.

💻 Technology

What's really behind "tech" versus "journalism"

"But what if you take the whole discussion of “tech versus journalism” and reframe it as “managers versus employees”? Then, I think, you get closer to the truth of what’s going on."

“Higher engagement rates than any other type”: The power of long-tail articles

Discover how to determine which content you publish has "everlasting power" and why long-tail articles are important for publishers.

🤷 WTF?

Quibi reportedly lost 90 percent of early users after their free trials expired

"Streaming service Quibi only managed to convert a little under 10 percent of its early wave of users into paying subscribers, says mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower."

#107 — Newsletters are the new homepage

#107 — Newsletters are the new homepage

This week's issue includes stories about the continued rise of email newsletters and subscriptions in publishing, as well as a guide about choosing the right analytics tools and much more!

💯 Top picks

Publishers are seeing revenue bumps of up to 103% from email newsletters: “It is the new homepage”

A new study by a marketing platform shows that publishers are seeing growth in revenue from newsletters of more than +100%, with the categories that have grown the most being shopping, home and garden and business.

💸 Business models

A new class of newsletter entrepreneurs

"As the media ecosystem contracts amid coronavirus, Substack has been thrust into an uncomfortable role — that of a savior. And as more writers go solo, the question has emerged as to whether Substack can become the kind of monetization system that never materialized during the last major internet writer-driven movement, the halcyon days of the early blogging era of the 2000s."

[Podcast] Significant growth in subscriptions at Bloomberg

CEO Justin Smith shares insights at the Digiday Publishing Summit about their "significant, significant growth and gains" with no noticable increase in churn!

France gives tax credits to news subscribers

"French MPs have voted to grant a tax credit to anyone taking out a new subscription to a current affairs newspaper or magazine after the government argued that the sector was “suffering enormously” from the coronavirus crisis."

✍️ Modern journalism

There is too much news!

"What constitutes “too much news” might seem obvious: loads of important stuff happening all at once. But that’s an over-simplification."

The psychology of misinformation: Why we’re vulnerable

"The psychology of misinformation — the mental shortcuts, confusions, and illusions that encourage us to believe things that aren’t true — can tell us a lot about how to prevent its harmful effects."

[Podcast] Using archival content to contextualise current events

LA Times Audience Engagement Editor Adriana Lacy discusses launching a dedicated Instagram account for the LA Times’ archival photos and how they’ve used historical images of protests to add context to the events of the past few weeks.

💻 Technology

Facebook to boost articles with original reporting in algorithm

"Facebook will be updating the way news stories are ranked in its News Feed to prioritize original reporting, executives tell Axios. It will also demote stories that aren't transparent about who has written them."

Updates on the publisher relationship with Facebook, Apple, and Google

"Over the years, we have seen more and more publishers prioritise owning the relationship with their audience directly, rather than being at the mercy of the platform."

9 types of web analytics tools for publishers

Find out how your website contributes to your publishing business by choosing the right analytics tools to suit your needs!

Flipboard launches a new tool to prevent news fatigue

Flipboard has launched a tool that can help publishers deal with news fatigue, and keep readers coming back. This tool, Curator Pro, allows publishers to curate and present news in finite packages, helping readers avoid information overload.

🤷 WTF?

Here are all the major brands not advertising on Facebook

Many companies have joined the Stop Hate for Profit boycott campaign.

#106 — How to forego venture capital with the membership model

#106 — How to forego venture capital with the membership model

Enjoy your regularly scheduled Sunday reading & listening with all of the top stories in publishing. There's articles covering how to address reader fatigue, content marketing tips, new podcast advertising tech, a new social network from Google and more!

As always, hit reply to chat – tell us what you want to see more of.

Until next time 👋🏼

💯 Top picks

[Podcast] We don't need your clicks

"The membership model has helped the Dispatch forgo venture capital or billionaire ownership"

‘We don’t need your clicks’: The Dispatch co-founder Steve Hayes on bucking the attention economy from The Digiday Podcast
Listen to The Digiday Podcast episodes free, on demand. The attention economy hasn’t just proven to be a losing proposition for media businesses financially. It also encourages quick, outrage-based political coverage that thrives off of (and feeds) poor governance, according to Steve Hayes, CEO and …

💸 Business models

5 ways Advocate Media is addressing reader fatigue

One hyperlocal news org shares how they're pivoting coverage to evolve with reader interests. Lots of interesting strategies in here that could apply to many publishers!

Subscription, membership, and donations will move centre stage

The great thing about a new industry report is that everyone does a rundown of the highlights. In case you missed it last week, here's a really good synopsis of the takeaways from the recent Reuters Institute Digital News Report.

ROE: Return On Engagement — the metric of care and community

"We’re in an engagement crisis. It’s been exposed by COVID-19 and accelerated by civic unrest. But it’s all rooted in the hurt of individuals and groups not being heard by the institutions meant to be serving their needs."

Marketing tips: find out how you can maximise the reach of your content with owned, earned and paid media.

✍️ Modern journalism

Online and independent: The future of journalism is already here

"The modern news industry is in crisis. For years, formerly stalwart publications have been bought up, hollowed out, and sold for scrap by predatory (and often utterly incompetent) venture capital firms."

Journalists believe news and opinion are separate, but readers can't tell the difference

"Long before newspapers became institutions for collecting and distributing news, they were instruments for the personal expression of individuals – their owners. There was little thought given to whether or not opinion and fact were intermingled."

E-replica editions, the ugly ducklings of digital news, have suddenly become strategic

"Once a flawed product, e-editions are now central at several news publications, especially during the pandemic-caused ad downturn."

💻 Technology

Google's US ad revenue is in decline

"Research firm eMarketer says decline would be the first since it started tracking Google’s ad revenue in 2008."

Spotify is testing interactive podcast ads so you never have to remember a promo code again

They're testing a feature called "In-App Offers" to give podcasts the ability to display embedded links on episode pages.

Google will start paying publishers to license content

"In a major departure from its long-standing practice of not paying publishers directly to distribute their work, Google executives tell Axios that the search giant is creating a licensing program to pay publishers "for high-quality content" as a part of a new news product launching later this year."

🤷 WTF?

Google launches a new social network

That's right, Google has designed its new social network, Keen. Many see it as an AI-powered Pinterest competitor.

#105 — The resurgence and importance of email newsletters

#105 — The resurgence and importance of email newsletters

This week's issue is full of interesting reads about the importance of email, why people pay for online news, the latest reports and why publishers need to improve the personality of their digital products. Enjoy!

By the way: We've made a few changes around here. All issues of Publisher Weekly are now written, published and emailed directly from Ghost using our Members feature. Want to learn more? Hit reply to chat!

💯 Top picks

The resurgence and importance of email newsletters

"Email newsletters, once thought of as low-tech and unfashionable, are proving increasingly valuable to publishers looking to build strong direct relationships with audiences."

💸 Business models

Digital news report 2020: 5 must-read charts for publishers

A new digital news report from Reuters dropped this week, which highlights even faster changes in business models due to the impact of COVID-19.

‘Churn and burn’: Publishers are prioritizing subscription volume over immediate revenue

"Like a lot of media trends spinning out of the pandemic and disconnecting legacy business norms with new in-market realities, there is a widening gap between the volume of publishers’ overall subscription numbers and the revenue that follows. And in that gap lies a cruel contradiction – growth twinned with downsizing."

How & why people are paying for online news

"It’s not yet clear how the coronavirus pandemic will affect payment levels for online news. The initial surge in news use near the beginning of the crisis led to optimism that an increase in paid subscriptions would soon follow."

People who pay for news say they’re unlikely to stop

"The percentage of people paying for news online continues to increase — and people may even pay for more than one subscription."

✍️ Modern journalism

Publishers need to increase "stickiness" to compete with platforms

"Publishers will need to step up the personality and stickiness of their digital news products if they are to compete with platforms and aggregators."

FT Editor Roula Khalaf on working remotely, gender diversity and the story they have to own

In a wide-ranging conversation touching on many major newsroom topics, Roula Khalaf, the Editor of the Financial Times, speaks to Reuters and WAN-IFRA about how the FT has been navigating the pandemic, how it continues to innovate, and the story it needs to own.

News by the ton: 75 years of US advertising

"There’s a common line about Google and Facebook that ‘if you’re not paying, you’re the product’, but this is pretty much what newspapers did: if you read old accounts for, say the New York Times Company, you can see that they were giving the product away at close to cost and making the money from selling your attention."

💻 Technology

What to know when choosing your membership tech stack

The Membership Puzzle Project explore how you can select the right tech to streamline your data and avoid having to create "workarounds" to accommodate walls between tech tools.

🤷 WTF?

Twitter starts rolling out audio tweets on iOS

Twitter is rolling out the ability to record audio snippets and attach them to your tweets. That really extends the character limit somewhat!

#104 — How the internet has changed everything

#104 — How the internet has changed everything

Tune in for this week's curation of articles, including studies about how publishers are fine-tuning their paywalls, a round up of subscription growth from the past 3 months from a new Zuora report and why publishers are fearful of Amazon commission cuts. Enjoy!

💯 Top picks

Never-ending Niches by Ben Thompson

This week's top read comes from Stratechery. It's an incredibly interesting view of how the internet has changed everything. Don't miss this!

Never-ending Niches
The Internet changed how media competes to focus and quality, but quality is defined by your niche.

💸 Business models

How publishers are playing with time in their paywall strategies

"Recent research from INMA shows that globally only 39% of national media outlets charge for their digital content. Of these, 47% of the paywalls use the freemium model, in which most content is available to everyone but select premium content is available only for paying subscribers."

Digital news and media subscriptions grow 110% in 3 months: What’s next for publishers

"Businesses relying on subscription revenues continue to show resilience through the pandemic. 50% are growing as fast as they were before the pandemic, and 18% have shown accelerated growth (greater than 25%), according to Zuora’s latest edition of its Subscription Impact Report."

Big publishers are using puzzles as a way to increase retention

It seems the same strategies newspapers have used for decades work on the internet too! The NYT adding 119k subscribers who signed up for its crosswords, cooking and audio products.

✍️ Modern journalism

When journalists say they’re objective — What does that even mean?

"The concept of “objectivity” is day-one stuff in any journalism program. It’s the idea that reporters shouldn’t bring any of their personal experiences or biases to their work, and instead relay the facts of a story from a neutral standpoint."

Solutions, not just stories. This publisher worked with readers to explore what life looked life after COVID-19

This member-funded French local news site asked its audience how it should report on the pandemic and attracted 20% more paying readers in the process.

Podcasts about race are climbing the charts, and coronavirus shows drop out

"Plus: How the Equality in Audio Pact came together, and Apple rolls out an exclusive show."

💻 Technology

Where to blog? Own your domain, use open source technology

Ben Thompson of Stratechery discusses the question of where to blog on his personal site.

Facebook may be about to upend the rules of email marketing

The social media giant confirmed that it’s testing new email marketing tools with a limited number of small and midsized businesses.

🤷 WTF?

Spared for now, large publishers live in fear of Amazon commission cuts

When Amazon told members of its affiliate program in mid April that it was slashing commission rates, publishers started to panic. And for good reason.

#103 — Fighting churn with data

#103 — Fighting churn with data

This weeks top stories in publishing includes discussions about how journalists are navigating protests, a podcast about what brands can learn from big publishers and examples of publishers who are successfully reducing churn.

💯 Top picks

3 lessons from the latest news media innovation winners

Real life examples of success from a variety of publishers who are keeping their biggest fans engaged, taking cues from their communities and fighting a winning battle against churn using data visualisation.

💸 Business models

The Guardian rolls out global tests of its registration wall

"News publisher the Guardian has ramped up tests of its registration wall to its global audience, with growing numbers of readers having reported spotting it over the past few weeks."

[Podcast] What brands can learn from big publishers

"Most content exists to answer a single search query, before the visitor disappears back into the ether. In that way, most blogs are more like libraries, loaning out a single book in response to a single visitor’s question."

The Animalz podcast explores how over-relying on organic search traffic can pose problems, with guest Andrew Montalenti, Founder and Chief Product Officer at Parse.ly.

Publishers are tying virtual events to subscriptions

"As publisher events have been forced online, they are becoming more entrenched with other parts of the business, particularly subscriptions."

Reimagine the newspaper chain for digital news outlets

Indiegraf, a new independent local news network launching in Canada, aims to provide publications with pooled resources for technology and marketing. Their aim is to give entrepreneurial journalists who don't have development or marketing resources the tools required to launch subscriber-based businesses.

✍️ Modern journalism

Photographers are being called on to stop showing protesters’ faces. Should they?

"Photographs of protests are everywhere, from the news to your social media feed. But there’s a growing movement that calls for journalists and citizens to blur or not show protesters’ faces.

So what should visual journalists do?"

George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and one journalist’s painfully honest self-examination on racism

"Acknowledging that  no one in the U.S. is immune to the influence of white supremacy may be the only way for journalists to effectively navigate the complexities of race"

💻 Technology

Medium launches newsletters

Perhaps the only email newsletter service in the world that doesn't give you any access at all to manage your subscribers – or even see their email addresses.

What we learned from 2 months of hosting webinars

This is what the FIPP team learned when they were forced to transition their in-person events and conferences into a series of remote webinars.

🤷 WTF?

Marketers bring antitrust suit against Google

"Three online advertisers are suing Google for allegedly violating antitrust laws by monopolizing digital advertising markets."

#102 — Free tools to upgrade your membership analytics

#102 — Free tools to upgrade your membership analytics

This week's curated list of the most important stories in publishing is short and sweet. Make sure you don't miss the top pick with great advice about analytics for membership businesses.

💯 Top picks

Upgrade your analytics and build a data-powered membership program

How do you inform data-driven decisions for your membership business? Brian Boyer has put together a series of spreadsheets, tools and techniques for tracking your members habits called Memberkit. It's free to use, and unlocks tons of useful insights from Google Analytics and email newsletters.

💸 Business models

So far, publishers are keeping subscribers gained during the coronavirus crisis

"New subscribers, the small bright spot for ravaged publishing, are not churning at the same rate as other subscribers, according to early data from subscription platforms."

What are publishers with steady, consistent performances doing that the others aren’t?

The right content and the right strategy can lead to consistent performance and long-term value!

Two months, a voluntary 30% price increase and 18,000 new paying readers

"eldiario.es found itself in financial difficulties when coronavirus hit. Until 18,000 new members and thousands of existing readers stepped in."

✍️ Modern journalism

New Zealand media group Stuff to be sold to chief executive Sinead Boucher for NZ$1

"A staff ownership model and a charter for editorial independence are among the plans for New Zealand’s largest journalism publisher, after Stuff’s chief executive bought the business from its Australian parent company for a single dollar."

The upcoming journalism school overhaul

Are the benefits of attending a journalism school still as clear today as they used to be? This opinion piece takes a look at getting a degree vs. lifelong learning skills, and whether it makes sense to do a journalism degree anymore.

How news orgs can create an effective "about us" page

"What is your news outlet’s mission? What communities do you cover, and how long have you been in business? What do you value, and what are your standards? Who works in your newsroom, and how are they reachable? How do you make money?"

💻 Technology

When you leave a company, can you take your podcast with you? Here’s how one team did it

The latest issue of Hot Pod shared on Nieman Lab looks at podcast ownership, more thoughts on Joe Rogan and Spotify, and the BBC's annual plan.

Google blocked billions of ads in 2019: How publishers can chart a revenue path forward

"Google has built its search business model on user trust and its ability to weed out untrustworthy players who try to manipulate its ranking systems."

🤷 WTF?

Microsoft sacks journalists to replace them with robots

Dozens of journalists have been laid off at Microsoft in favour of AI software.

#101 — Using data for effective subscription marketing

#101 — Using data for effective subscription marketing

Here’s this weeks roundup of stories about independent publishing, business models and technology.

Hope you enjoy this newsletter - hit reply to let us know what you thought!

💯 Top picks

How The Atlantic uses data for more effective subscription marketing

“Sam Rosen, The Atlantic’s SVP of Growth described the data-driven evolution of their subscription strategy in a FIPP webinar.”

💸 Business models

'We need you to fill the gap': Publishers are making a hard sell for subscriptions

“News publishers aren’t mincing words in their messages to push subscriptions, directly appealing to readers to support journalism and even make up for lost advertising revenue.”

Following layoffs, theSkimm are launching a new digital membership model

“TheSkimm is planning to launch a full-fledged digital membership model later this summer called "Teal Memb’rship,” Axios has learned.“

How the biggest consumer apps got their first 1,000 users

Newsletter author Lenny Rachitsky has done the research so you don’t have to. Find out how Tinder, Uber, TikTok Product Hunt and more acquired their first 1,000 users. There’s some fascinating takeaways in here that are just as applicable to publishers launching membership businesses as to tech companies launching apps.

What publishers should consider when looking into affiliate marketing

This article explores how publishers can optimise affiliate marketing efforts, increase profit from that revenue stream and whether this model is scalable or not.

✍️ Modern journalism

Ben Thompson challenges regulator assumptions about big tech and its impact on the news industry

“I am a big believer in the importance of journalism — I rely on it for every post I write, for one — and am very concerned with figuring out a business model that is sustainable. Moreover, tech, particularly now, needs the accountability that comes from an independent media.”

The top 15 publishing and media podcasts

WNIP curated a list of the best publishing and media podcasts covering platforms, social media, journalism and technology. There’s a few in here that we’re going to add to our resources page.

Here’s (exactly) how we organized one of the largest virtual U.S. journalism events to date

Find out how the Center for Cooperative Media hosted their Collaborative Journalism Summit virtually instead of in-person. They pulled this off at short notice and managed to increase the number of registrations by an impressive amount.

👩‍💻 Technology

“The terms for the Spotify licensing deal were not disclosed, but I imagine a crap-ton of money was involved in this arrangement.”

Notion just removed the biggest limit on its free plan

If you’re looking for a new note taking app to organise your life, Notion just removed the limits on their free plan, which means you can create as many notes, blocks, calendars and databases as you like, and invite up to 5 collaborators. The Ghost team have used all kinds of tools for planning and note-taking over the years, and we’re happily back to using Notion to organise our work.

🤷 WTF?

Nearly 50% of the accounts tweeting about coronavirus are likely bots

“Researchers culled through more than 200 million tweets discussing the virus since January and found that about 45% were sent by accounts that behave more like computerised robots than humans.”

#100 — The importance of diverse revenue streams

#100 — The importance of diverse revenue streams

We’ve really enjoyed putting together this weekly curation of stories about independent publishing since June 2018 – which started when we were looking to sign up for a newsletter just like this, with a focus on business models in publishing.

Thanks for supporting us as a subscriber ❤️ To mark the 100th issue, it would be great to hear directly from you about what bought you to Publisher Weekly. Hit reply to chat!

💯 Top picks

[Podcast] - The importance of diverse revenue streams

“The news publishing industry may be getting squeezed by the pandemic economy, but for Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg, it set itself up for failure long ago, by leaning too heavily on advertiser revenue.”

💸 Business models

"Turning a one-click reader into a 10-click reader”: Why publishers need to focus on reader retention, and other growth insights

“Publishers that have less than 1M readers are 59% more likely to rely upon content quality as their main strategy for growth. As their audience size grows, they move on to focusing on creating a better experience (1-10M readers), and experiment with revenue diversification strategies (10-100M readers).”

How L'Edition du Soir became the most read digital-only edition in Europe

This digital-only edition from France had 5.5million sessions in April, with a +134% growth compared to April of 2019. Read more about they gained this success in this short article!

Deep dive into the Global Digital Subscription Snapshot

“At a time where advertising has taken flight, physical events are a no-go and media around the world under severe pressure, digital subscriptions have become an even more critical consideration in the revenue mix than before.”

✍️ Modern journalism

[Resource] The Verification Handbook by DataJournalism.com

“This book equips journalists with the knowledge to investigate social media accounts, bots, private messaging apps, information operations, deep fakes, as well as other forms of disinformation and media manipulation.”

[Opinion] The Reuters Digital News Report might be a problem for the industry. This is why.

“The whole world reports growth in digital subscriptions, minus 1 institution. But this institution dominates the public discourse.”

Freelancers in Asia are becoming nimble, digital publishers

Find out how four freelancers are reinventing their work and making the most of the pandemic.

Politico editor-in-chief interview: Coronavirus cuts? No, we're still thinking about expansion

“Matthew Kaminski must be one of the very few bosses in journalism still thinking about expansion. While thousands of publications across the world face cuts due to a collapse in the advertising market, the editor-in-chief of Politico is still thinking about growing the title’s UK team.”

👩‍💻 Technology

Like it or not, Google and Facebook are becoming the leading patrons of the news industry

“At one point early last year, Facebook’s point person on the news industry, Campbell Brown, gave publishers some tough talk: “Facebook cannot be the entire solution to your problems,” she told a room full of magazine publishers.”

Can Pushkin Industries bring the podcast and audiobook audiences together?

“Plus: The challenges of moving a live show from theater to streaming, new shows for cloistered kids, and the podcast industry gets its first big pandemic-era acquisition.”

Bookshop, a new startup, is offering publications bigger kickbacks than Amazon (and the thrill of battling Bezos)

“Bookshop, which was founded to support independent bookstores, distributes earnings through a pooled fund and provides digital storefronts that let local stores keep the profits on any sales they generate.”

🤷 WTF?

IBM Study: 40 percent of 25,000 people surveyed in the US would like to keep their remote work perks

More than 40% of respondents to this survey feel strongly that their employer should allow them to opt-in opt remote work when normal operations resume.

#99 — 8 steps to strengthen your newsletter strategy

#99 — 8 steps to strengthen your newsletter strategy

This week we've got tips for email newsletter strategy, two great podcast episodes and a rundown of how one publisher gained an increase of almost 300% in new subscribers.

If you're enjoying this newsletter we'd be grateful if you'd forward to a friend, or share on Twitter ❤️

💯 Top picks

8 steps to strengthen your newsletter strategy

Consistency, calls to action and skimmable headlines! This week’s top read is a list of steps that you can use to improve your email strategy straight away.

💸 Business models

The Membership Puzzle Project are designing a definitive guide to membership models

As The Membership Puzzle Project comes to a close, the team are partnering with The Lenfest Institute for Journalism and the Google News Initiative to produce a comprehensive guide for member-driven publishers.If you’d like to contribute, you can ask questions that you’d like to know the answers to, or submit findings from your own newsroom.

“Not only can membership save journalism, but will do so by helping it evolve”: Why publishers are looking beyond subscriptions

“Reader revenue has freed us from the shackles of others we can’t see or who don’t care.”

Apple News hits 125 million monthly active users

“During the pandemic crisis, active users of Apple’s news platform hit an all-time high.”

The UK fast-tracked scrapping VAT on e-publications

“Plans to scrap VAT on e-books and e-newspapers have been significantly fast-tracked in a boost to readers and publishers during the coronavirus outbreak, the Chancellor announced today.”

Tribune Publishing sees a 293% increase in digital subscriptions during the pandemic: How they achieved it and what’s next

“Tribune Publishing signed up 334,000 digital-only subscribers in 2019. This was a 34% increase compared to the previous year. Subscription revenue grew about 60% during the same period, according to its CMO Mark Campbell”

✍️ Modern journalism

Are journalists on autopilot when they’re determining which sources (or what information) to trust?

“Who and what journalists trust determines a substantial amount of what makes it through the journalistic filter to audience — what leads they pursue, who they talk to, how they frame a story. But given the importance of trust, we know relatively little about why journalists trust certain sources or information.”

“Growing a web publishing business from a small starter loan and your own profits "toughens you” in ways that are different than venture-backed media according to Digital Trends CEO Ian Bell.“

Journalists’ union seeks tech-giants tax to ‘rescue’ industry

“To mark World Press Freedom Day on Sunday, the NUJ released a wide-ranging rescue plan for the media industry which it said should be central to government formation talks.”

[Podcast] The Atlantic International Editor Prashant Rao on bringing the publication to a global audience

The Media Voices podcast catches up with International Editor Prashant Rao about taking The Atlantic’s voice to an international audience, the importance of diversity in writing stories for that audience, and their recent surge in subscriptions.

👩‍💻 Technology

UK ad market to contract by £4.2bn this year

“Ten years of continuous ad market growth peaked in 2019 at £25.36bn, but the COVID-19 outbreak will wipe more than £4bn from the total for the current year, according to the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report.”

🤷 WTF?

Virtual rate cut forces Nintendo gamers into riskier assets

The most popular game during the coronavirus era mimics global banks by making cuts to interest rates within the game.

#98 — Huge growth in subscriptions for digital news and media

#98 — Huge growth in subscriptions for digital news and media

Hope you enjoy this week’s curation of the top stories in independent publishing.

As always - hit reply to let us know what you thought of this issue, and let us know what you want to see in future issues!

💯 Top picks

Huge growth in subscriptions for digital news and media

According to a new subscription impact report from Zuora, 22.5% of companies are seeing subscription growth, while 53.3% are seeing no change. It goes on to look at the advantages of the subscription business model and is summarised nicely in this post!whatsnewinpublishing.com  •  Share

💸 Business models

Be nimble with subscription messaging

Explaining your “why” and your “how” succinctly can help to build trust and grow subscribers. Jennifer Hefty explores how the Coloradoan target their “middle of funnel” audience group with subscription messaging.

How newsrooms can begin making data-informed membership decisions

“We’ve launched our membership program. Now what? What do we need to know about our audience? How can we develop and implement a data-informed strategy for growing our membership program? And how can we do all this in a small newsroom without a dedicated audience specialist?”

Stuck at home with little to do, news consumers are surging toward hobbyist magazine

“Health, food, and home and garden titles, among others, have seen an abundance of readers and social media engagement amid the stay-at-home orders.”

✍️ Modern journalism

Where does good news fit in the coverage of a pandemic?

“Coronavirus news has crowded out almost every other story. And it’s almost all gloom and doom. Should journalists try to report some good news?”

Reuters Institute digital seminar: The business and practice of journalism

Guests include Sarah Sands, Clara Jiménez Cruz, Dorothy Byrne, Matthew Caruana Galizia and Prashant Rao.

[Podcast] Conversation with Dr Claire Wardle (First Draft) by DataJournalism.com

A conversation between Buzzfeed’s Craig Silverman, the editor of the new verification handbook, and Dr Claire Wardle, the executive director of First Draft. The pair spoke about how the misinformation landscape has changed.

👩‍💻 Technology

How 4 publishers are approaching the first-party data shift and forging new relationships with advertisers

“In January, first party data is set to become the dominant currency in the digital ad market.”

Publishers look to cheap Facebook ads to increase subscriptions

“Over the past seven weeks, many publishers have welcomed a coronavirus bump in subscribers as news consumption rises. That bump has been helped along by a significant acceleration in Facebook ad spending.”

🤷 WTF?

The history of email

“The ancestors of the Internet were kind enough to give us a communication standard which is free, transparent, and standardized. It would be a shame to see the tech communication landscape move further and further into the world of locked gardens and proprietary schemas.”

#97 — Designing a platform for indie writers who want to monetise their content

#97 — Designing a platform for indie writers who want to monetise their content

Hit reply to chat with our team and let us know what bought you to this newsletter.

💯 Top picks

Designing a platform for indie writers who want to monetise their content

Our very own CEO—John O'Nolan—was recently interviewed by Simon Owens on The Business Of Content podcast. Read the edited transcript, listen to the podcast on your favourite podcast player or skip straight to the YouTube version.

💸 Business models

5 guiding principles for your newsletter strategy

Publishers are using email to retain existing subscribers and convert new subscribers. Here’s 5 tips for success during these times.

The Dipp, a subscription-only entertainment news startup, is springing to life despite the pandemic

Former colleagues of Bustle have decided to take the plunge and start their own company called The Dipp — describing itself as a “personalised subscription website for TV’s biggest fans.”

Netflix has biggest quarter with nearly 16 million new subscribers signing on

“Netflix Inc. revealed Tuesday that it added more than double the new subscribers it expected amid the spread of COVID-19 for record growth.”

Amazon slashes affiliate commissions: What’s next for publishers?

“Earlier this week, Amazon announced it will be cutting commission rates for members of Amazon Associates; its affiliate programme which a large number of publishers are a member of.

✍️ Modern journalism

Aligning the user data that websites and apps collect with what consumers expect

“Consumers are relatively comfortable with their data being collected to offer a safer, more customised experience. But selling that data or reusing it for targeting on other sites? Not so much.”

A wake-up call to close the digital divide

“Congress should invest up to $2 billion for emergency broadband service to ensure low-income families have connectivity.”

The #CoronaVirusFacts Alliance

“Led by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the Poynter Institute, the #CoronaVirusFacts / #DatosCoronaVirus Alliance unites more than 100 fact-checkers around the world in publishing, sharing and translating facts surrounding the new coronavirus.”

👩‍💻 Technology

Google offers fee relief to support news partners

While Amazon are slashing affiliate revenues for publishers — Google are waiving ad serving fees for news organisations globally to support their business during COVID-19.

No commuting, no problem: Podcasting ad revenue continues to grow

“With commuting on hold and everybody Zooming all the time, podcast consumption has taken a bit of a hit as listeners look for new ways to fit shows into their daily routines.”

500 free courses from the world’s top computer science universities

If you’ve already binge-watched your favourite TV and movies and are looking for other ways to spend your time during quarantine, check out this huge list of completely free computer science courses.

From Skype interviews to wire-service video: How NowThis has adapted to remote production

“Video-first publisher NowThis was built around a partially remote team and content curated from other sources rounding out original reporting, so the move to remote operations was not the end of the world.”

🤷 WTF?

A 72-hour live stream brings Earth Day online

“Environmental groups originally planned a massive climate strike to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd, 2020. The novel coronavirus forced their activism online.”

#96 — What you can learn from the top 8 paywall models

#96 — What you can learn from the top 8 paywall models

Get in touch by hitting reply — let us know what bought you to publisher weekly?

💯 Top picks

Top 8 paywall models: What you can learn from Wired, Bild, The Athletic and Co.

Take a look at the subscription tactics these eight publications offer, and how they have created a successful business model by dedicating time and resources to some interesting experiments.

💸 Business models

I couldn't find startup-focused YouTubers. So I turned myself into one!

This IndieHackers interview with Will Kwan is a fascinating read. Will launched a self-titled YouTube channel that now makes $3k/month by sharing stories about being a startup maker.

How publishers worldwide are using different business models to grow revenue

What’s New In Publishing summarise the latest Innovation in Media 2019-2020 World Report from FIPP’s (paid access) which explores the different business models publishers are using worldwide.

How the Daily Beast is accelerating revenue diversification

The Daily Beast CRO Mia Lehmkuhl Libby explains how the Beast is seeing 30% declines in programmatic ad revenue since the coronavirus crisis began, but has managed to offset this decline with with “three digit” increases in subscriptions.

Will publishers be able to retain all their new "crisis" subscribers?

Twipe take a look at what happens when publishers stop acquiring new readers at record pace, and how to retain subscribers in the face of economic pressure and news fatigue.

Magazine publishers are reporting booming subscription rates and higher digital content audiences

“During difficult times, the majority of people claim that focusing on their passions helps them cope. So it’s no surprise that right now many magazine publishers are reporting booming subscription rates and higher digital content audiences.”

Disney Plus surpasses 50 million subscribers

“The international rollout of Disney Plus in a number of countries has helped it roll past the 50 million subscriber mark, the company has announced. To compare, Netflix has 167 million subscribers worldwide.”

✍️ Modern journalism

What’s the point of a fashion magazine now?

“Glossy magazines sell fantasy. Now they have to reckon with reality. It’s complicated.”

In an uncertain time, The Week Junior informs children without scaring them about the world we live in

“It’s our mission to bring the news of the world to children every week, no matter what’s happening in the world.”

👩‍💻 Technology

Coronavirus seems to have made podcasts more of an afternoon thing than a morning thing

Find out what is happening in the world of podcasts in the latest Hot Pod newsletter.

🤷 WTF?

Over 500,000 Zoom accounts sold on hacker forums, the dark web

“Over 500,000 Zoom accounts are being sold on the dark web and hacker forums for less than a penny each, and in some cases, given away for free.”

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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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