#63 — Tighten up that paywall!

#63 — Tighten up that paywall!

Happy Sunday! Here’s your top stories in publishing and the latest ideas about modern business models. As always, thanks for supporting the newsletter and for helping to build this community. If you have any ideas or suggestions for future issues, hit reply 📫

💯 Top picks

Tighten up that paywall! (And some other lessons from a study of 500 newspaper publishers)

Since The New York Times introduced a paywall in 2011, it has become popular with a majority of newspapers and a growing business model for independent publishers across the world.Research into a wide range of these publications suggests that pay model strategies with higher “stop rates” are doing better - which means giving out less content for free before asking readers to pay. Having a simple checkout process and understanding your readers is also important. Find out more in this NiemanLab piece.

💸 Business models

To increase retention, The Financial Times is using newsletter polls

“The Financial Times has started incorporating polls into its email newsletters in an effort to encourage readers to interact more regularly with its content and ultimately increase subscriber retention. Early signs show it’s working.”

How to do something about local news

“The old model for local news is dying, but in every crisis there is an opportunity. I believe that a more promising model for local news is just emerging.”Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie shares his thoughts on emerging business models for local news!

PodPass wants to build the identity layer for podcasting (before some big tech company does it first)

As podcasting grows, and paid podcasting becomes a hot topic - there’s still an issue which needs to be addressed: Podcast listeners use several apps and platforms - so can podcast subscriptions be integrated into an open ecosystem? The PodPass proposal hopes to solve s0me of these issues with an open protocol that provides a better experience for listeners, and more control for podcasters.

✍️ Modern journalism

Ever wished you read more books? The NYT share how to be a better reader in 7 days

A full guide on how to get better at reading books, including making a reading plan and how to read more deeply. We’re sure it could be a useful guide to follow in a world of instant gratification and dopamine hits that keep us addicted to mobile devices 🙃

Could Facebook license publishers’ content?

It has been reported that Facebook is in talks with multiple large publishers to offer them a licensing fee of $3 million to allow them to show content in the Facebook “News” tab.

The Financial Times story playbook

The FT approached a problem shared by many publishers: How do we share content clearly and consistently at scale?To explore this, they have built a playbook of standardised and proven templates that can be used directly in a CMS by their entire newsroom. They shared the end result on GitHub so that others can learn from their processes, see their reference materials and get tips on how to create their own templates.

Semantic search: How to write content that anticipates searchers’ needs

Search engine optimisation isn’t just for marketing experts – Feast your eyes on some digestible technical SEO insights for content creators from PR Newswire, including how to rank better and understand searcher intent.

👩‍💻 Technology

Verizon sells Tumblr to WordPress!

Yahoo acquired Tumblr back in 2013 for $1.1 billion, and now (Automattic) are acquiring the social network for a reported $3 million. See also: a lengthy interview with WordPress CEO about the acquisition.

For your privacy, adopt browser compartmentalisation

Since incognito mode means very little for your privacy these days, a new technique is gaining traction which involves using two or more browsers on the same computer for different types of internet activity.

Get your RSS feeds in your inbox

Curate your own email newsletters RSS style with this tool and get periodical emails with all of your favourite content. Don’t forget you can always visit our curated list of tools for publishers on the Publisher Weekly site.

🤷 WTF?

The lonely work of moderating Hacker News

Anna Wiener writes on Daniel Gackle and Scott Bell, the content moderators of Hacker News, a popular online tech-focussed forum owned by the startup accelerator Y Combinator.

#62 — The four visitors to your site, and how to hook them

#62 — The four visitors to your site, and how to hook them

Welcome back! This weeks thoughtful takes on the future of publishing includes lots of news about emerging business models and a free downloadable resource in our top pick of the week.

For those of you who have joined this community in the past few weeks, here’s a brief reminder about who we are, and why we curate this newsletter!

Stories, ideas and resources all in one place – catch up with past issues, or discover neat tools for independent publishing 👉

💯 Top picks

The four visitors to your site, and how to hook them [Report]

Why do content creators focus on maximising reach, rather than improving engagement with the right people?

Editors at The Atlantic have become fatigued with placing too much importance on page views, and are focusing on metrics that offer more insight. For example: What kinds of audiences are visiting? What do those people actually value?

They’ve shared this (free with email address) downloadable resource that walks you through how to segment your audience, surface relevant content, deepen relationships and improve conversions. If you don’t have time to read it right now, save it and file for when you need a little inspiration - it’s only 9 pages and full of insightful opinions!

💸 Business models

How Piano built a propensity paywall for publishers — and what it’s learned so far

A propensity paywall uses signals to measure a visitor’s likelihood of becoming a subscriber, and determines exactly how to encourage them to do it by sending the right messaging at the right time. Piano launched their own intelligent propensity paywall back in June and have since seen clients increase their visitor-to-subscriber rates by up to 75%.

This month in email: Not A Newsletter, August Issue!

Dan Oshinsky released the latest edition of Not A Newsletter in the usual Google Docs format and it’s packed full of interesting reads as well as an overview of what Dan learnt looking back on two years of working at The New Yorker!

News aggregation app SmartNews reaches $1 billion valuation

Google and Facebook may have eaten up all of the news referral traffic in recent years, but this hasn’t stopped the Japanese startup SmartNews from gaining traction. For now, it remains the largest news aggregation service in Japan – but is growing rapidly in the US, making most of its revenue from advertising.

"If we can't figure out a model... we won't last!"

A creative plea from for their loyal readers to donate and pay for their news, to keep the publication alive.

“If half of those users […] paid $10 a month, we would earn $168,000 a year. Counting in our current business members, we would be fully funded.”

Some publishers are making money from Apple News

“Publishers like Vice Media and The Stylist Group say they’ve gotten traffic and more importantly, revenue lifts from Apple News in the last three months.”

✍️ Modern journalism

HuffPost UK launches new sections that will pay contributors

The publisher aims to give a voice to underserved communities through new Personal and Opinion sections, which will expand the variety of voices on the publication and actually pay contributors, unlike the former Blog section that is being replaced.

The New York Times and The Guardian are celebrating good digital revenue news today

NiemanLab summarise a week of good news for the two big publishers, with the NYT hitting 3.78 million digital subscribers, while The Guardian broke even with over half of its revenue coming from digital.

The Markup is back, with Julia Angwin reinstated as editor-in-chief, a new leadership team, and the same reporters

A little publishing news drama for you this week! The Markup is a nonprofit news site with a mission to investigate how big tech impacts society. In April, the cofounder and editor-in-chief was suddenly fired, causing the editorial team to protest. Now, Angwin has been reinstated, the people that fired her have left and there’s a new leadership team.

👩‍💻 Technology

How disabling 8chan became Cloudflare's job

“The decision to disable an infamous message board fell to Matthew Prince, an internet executive who is deeply uncomfortable with his own power.”Cloudflare disabling 8chan after it hosted advance announcements about mass shootings was a widely discussed topic this week, sparking philosophical debate about the meaning of free speech and the law on the internet.

See also: The announcement post on the Cloudflare blog and “A framework for moderation” from Stratechery.

🤷 WTF?

4 extremely online writers on how the internet broke our brains and how we can unbreak them

“Can the very online ever unplug?”

Mother Jones put the question to four writers with varying degrees of internet damage.

#61 — Email is important for publishers. So is retention!

#61 — Email is important for publishers. So is retention!

Welcome to your weekly roundup of the most important stories in independent publishing. It was a busy news week, so this issue is packed full of great content.

Thanks for being a part of the community – don’t forget you can submit articles & access a curated resources list of the best tools for publishers anytime!

💯 Top picks

The Facebook local news accelerator finds out what readers will actually pay for!

The Facebook local news accelerator launched to support 14 publishers in finding sustainable business models, with financial backing and the help of coaches and experts. One year in, the project shared this report of all of the things they’ve discovered so far, including:

  • Average conversion rate for email subscribers to paid is between 5-10%
  • Leading publishers aren’t seeing subscription fatigue
  • Retention is very important

Check out the full article for this weeks top read!

💸 Business models

The Guardian's membership editor functions as the "connective tissue" between supporters and the newsroom

Kyra Miller dives into how The Guardian’s membership team connects with readers and builds membership into its editorial flow, breaking it down into to challenges the publisher faces, their strategy, the numbers and lessons learnt. Published for Solution Set, a great weekly resource from The Lenfest Institute for Journalism.

The L.A. Times’ disappointing digital numbers show the game’s not just about drawing in subscribers — it’s about keeping them

“Digital subscriptions at the Los Angeles Times are way below expectations, and leadership, in a memo to staff, said the future of the paper could depend on solving the issue rapidly.”

The Athletic sports news site hits 500,000 subscribers

The sports news subscription product from The Athletic now has 500,000 paying subscribers, but expects to double this by the end of the year.

Stop sending emails to your inactive subscribers

Are you running an email newsletter? Word on the street is that you definitely should be. This in-depth article explains how to manage your email subscriber list effectively and provides tips for identifying inactive subscribers – and what to do about it!

✍️ Modern journalism

Journalists in Ukraine are using Telegram for effective engagement with their audience

Telegram was built for personal, security-driven private messaging. Recently publishers are increasingly using the app build communities and distribute content and news. In Ukraine, journalists are using the tool to connect with relevant audiences, while successfully increasing click-through rates and creating a better space for community.

Holloway aims to rewrite publishing with $4.6M from investors including the New York Times

“The goal is to democratise access to how the best are doing business today (and take on traditional publishing).”

Holloway has an ambitious mission: To share knowledge about business and startups, and make it available in communities that are growing, but where knowledge is hard to come by.

This week they launched a series of online books covering a variety of topics about startups and technology – and with a large investment from top tech investors and the NYT, they’re hoping to provide better resources for publishing businesses.

👩‍💻 Technology

Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine is an embarrassing joke

This article provides some important perspective: Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine is just one month of revenue for Facebook, their stock price is up and none of the new conditions will stop them from collecting data that feeds their lucrative ad business.

Wayback Machine now shows when a page was updated and what changed

The Wayback Machine has long been a popular tool for checking out what websites looked like in the past. Now it has new features to show what date a page changed as well as exactly what changed on it!

Spotify’s big bet on podcasts is starting to pay off

The company is experiencing huge growth in its podcast audience, as revealed in its earnings report. The number of people listening to podcasts on the platform has doubled since the start of the year, which has contributed to a 9% growth in premium subscribers.

Journalists on the ‘aha’ moments that changed the way they work

CJR interviewed a group of journalists to learn more about how they developed their approaches to writing, researching and all aspects of journalism. A very real article with some extremely interesting insights!

Adblocking: How about nah?

“The rise and rise of ad-blockers (and ad-blocker-blocker-blockers) is without parallel: 26% of Internet users are now blocking ads, and the figure is rising. It’s been called the biggest boycott in human history.”

🤷 WTF?

Why most marketing emails still use HTML tables

“How HTML helped, then hindered, the evolution of email, or why all those fancy marketing emails you get in your inbox still rely on HTML tables…”

#60 — Partnership, membership, and social justice

#60 — Partnership, membership, and social justice

Hello & welcome to all of our new subscribers 👋

This week’s roundup includes stories about innovation and retention in digital publishing, a new tool for keeping up with the latest trends, more evidence that the ad industry is still in decline and much more. Enjoy, and have a great week!

💯 Top picks

Partnership, membership, and social justice: How publishers in repressive news environments are innovating

“Digital publishers worldwide face a common set of challenges — monetizing digital while retaining print subscribers, deciding how much content to give to third-party platforms, and so on. But publishers in repressive media environments have additional barriers to overcome.”

💸 Business models

5 case studies to inspire your retention strategy

Twipe investigate why the majority of publishers spend more on acquisition than they do on engagement, and share five inspiring case studies of great retention strategies that go against the grain.

Five years after crowdfunding, here’s how Krautreporter is keeping its members engaged

There’s been a lot of news about De Correspondent in the past year, which crowdfunded $1.3 million in 2013 . Meanwhile in Germany, the lesser talked about Krautreporter was in the process of raising $1.38 in the same way. This piece explores how the publication is still keeping members happy, and building tools that you can use, too!

✍️ Modern journalism

Find out where your readers are with a this new tool

Analytics tool provider has launched a new product called “Currents Digests” that shows you overall traffic, referral and geo-location information for keyword topics you’re interested in following.

This freelance journalist was owed $5k from late-paying publications and held them all accountable

Wudan Yan shares a transparent account of what happens when publications fail to pay freelancers, resulting in late payment fees. An interesting read for journalists and freelancers in any industry!

'We're not resourced like a big tech company': The challenges of doing product at a publisher

“As publishers start balancing different kinds of content and revenue strategies, product leaders are becoming increasingly important.”

👩‍💻 Technology

Internet advertising is growing at slowest rate since the dotcom bubble burst

Advertising on the internet is forecast to grow by 10% next year, which is the lowest growth since 2001. According to media agency group Zenith, the shrinking growth means that cinema advertising will take the lead as the fastest-growing ad medium.

Google’s tool to tame election influence has flaws

Google built a searchable database of political ads following pressure for greater transparency - but campaigns that have been running in recent weeks have not been showing up in the database, sparking worries about the efficacy of the tool.

Should publishers retain their most loyal print readers?

“Flat is the new growth, many would say, when it comes to declining volume of daily newspaper print circulation, especially as success has been found in raising prices among the most loyal subscribers.So maybe it’s time for publishers to radically lean in to serving and retaining their most loyal print readers—the elderly.”

FTC imposes $5 Billion penalty and sweeping new privacy restrictions on Facebook

The largest penalty imposed on any company for violating privacy - Facebook are to pay the penalty and have also been forced to accept new rules that will hold the company accountable for the decisions it makes about user privacy in future!

5 times Spotify has U-turned its content strategy

From apps, to short-form content to censorship and beyond. Take a guided tour of Spotify’s content strategy over the years.

🤷 WTF?

Can’t read just one: Slate’s daily advice columns are strange, funny, deep, and increasingly a major traffic driver for the site

“We probably won’t do twincest again.”

Find out why Slate’s online advice column is so popular!

#59 — Substack gets $15.3 million in VC funding

#59 — Substack gets $15.3 million in VC funding

This weeks curation of the most important news in publishing includes funding announcements from Substack, more evidence that micro-payments aren’t working out, and some thoughtful articles about trust and diversity. Enjoy!

Thanks for supporting our newsletter ❤️ We’d love to hear more about what you’re here for and what made you subscribe for Publisher Weekly? Hit reply to chat.

💯 Top picks

Email newsletter platform Substack nabs $15.3 million in funding (and vows it won’t go the way of other VC-funded media companies)

“The email newsletter platform Substack, which has become home to an increasing number of personal and professional newsletters as creators phase out their use of TinyLetter, announced Tuesday that it’s raised $15.3 million in Series A funding.”

💸 Business models

New European drops micro-paywall charging readers small amounts for premium articles

More proof that micro-payments for journalism didn’t work out as planned, as The European, who previously used the Axate paywall to ask readers to put £3 into a wallet, charging up to 50p per week for access to their articles, has taken it down. They’ve decided that their readers would prefer to support them in a more direct way, similar to The Guardian!

The BBC could trade in their licence system for a subscription service

“The BBC could switch away from the licence fee to a Netflix-style voluntary subscription model, the director-general acknowledged yesterday. The compulsory licence fee system is guaranteed until 2027, after which the broadcaster will have to negotiate a new funding arrangement with the government.”

✍️ Modern journalism

Whose stories get told? Why media diversity matters

“There are still too many media gatekeepers who clearly don’t get it.”David Morgan discusses the struggle for better representation in the media, and how the trend toward greater diversity will not continue on its own.

The Guardian's Chief Revenue Officer Hamish Nicklin on sustainable journalism and fair advertising [Podcast]

Hamish Nicklin appears on the Media Voices podcast to discuss the newspaper’s journey to profit, including how they leverage membership, contributions and advertising.

Governments making “fake news” a crime risk stifling real journalism — accidentally or intentionally

It’s common knowledge that the spread of fake news is an issue in modern media. But what happens if a country makes it a crime to deliberately spread false information? Alana Schetzer argues that this isn’t necessarily the best route, after Singapore became the latest country to pass such laws!

👩‍💻 Technology

Social media giants are restricting research vital to journalism

Twitter and Facebook imposing tighter restrictions on their data is making it difficult for ethical researchers to gather important data that acts as sources for journalists. CJR explain how the “simple python applications” they built to collect messages posted by election candidates in 2014 quickly became ineffective – and now they’re finding it hard to gather reliable data.

Google is redesigning the news tab, prioritising context and publisher names

News articles that appear in the search engine under the News tab will now display publishers’ names more prominently, with article cards in a carousel.

Podcasters need listening data, so Nielsen is going to call people’s homes to ask for it

“Nielsen, a company best known for tracking TV shows’ popularity, is getting into the podcast data collection business.”

The new tech principles for

The Financial Times product and technology department shared their new tech principles, including a few favourites like: “make small changes often” and “treat unblocking others as your priority”.

Netflix insists it won’t move into selling advertising

“Netflix wants you to know: It doesn’t have any plans now or in the future to start running commercials on its streaming service.”

🤷 WTF?

We’re at peak newsletter, and I feel fine

An article celebrating the personal-newsletter, which also happens to be full of great recommendations of personal-newsletters you might want to read.

#58 — 14 steps to create better journalism and boost revenue

#58 — 14 steps to create better journalism and boost revenue

Welcome back to your weekly update with all of the most important stories in digital publishing curated for a growing community of people who are deeply interested in the future of publishing. A warm welcome to all of our latest new subscribers!

If you have questions or feedback about the newsletter, hit reply and let us know! 📫

💯 Top picks

14 steps to create better journalism and boost revenue

Poynter put together this step-by-step guide on how to succeed at independent journalism and make some revenue in the process. Pick your revenue model, segment your audience, create a roadmap, solicit feedback and lots more useful tips with actionable insights. This week’s top pick requires approximately 16 minutes of your attention!

💸 Business models

Converting news readers into paying subscribers: a primer for publishers

“With 52% of publishers focusing on subscriptions as their main revenue source this year, the need to better convert subscribers is continuing to grow.”

Twipe break down some of the top learnings from recent research about subscription media. According to the stats, readers are more heavily persuaded by what they’ll gain from a subscription, rather than what they’d lose if they don’t subscribe.

Mozilla teases $5-per-month ad-free news subscription

“Mozilla has started teasing an ad-free news subscription service, which, for $5 per month, would offer ad-free browsing, audio readouts, and cross-platform syncing of news articles from a number of websites.”

With sports, local newspapers try 'unbundling' the subscription

“The rookie campaigns of many newspapers’ digital sports subscriptions are over. Now comes the work of developing the standalone subscription products into long-lasting sources of revenue.”

How Nordic giant Schibsted 'saves' unsubscribers

Here’s another example of a publisher employing tactics that are well known in the SaaS space. Norwegian outlet Shibsted has been busy working on user journeys and implementing a churn-stopping user management feature that allows subscribers to change or pause their memberships. Here’s another article from INMA that takes a deep dive on some of the tactics they’re using.

A landscape study of local news models across America

Heidi Legg published a new Shorestein Center paper that takes a look at digital subscriptions and emerging business models for both non-profit and for-profit organisations. See also: an overview of 21 examples of news outlets who are building subscription businesses.

✍️ Modern journalism

Where should analytics live within a media organisation?

When news brands debate where to house data analytics functions within an organisation, they must put the business case first and avoid keeping data in a silo. Here are five tips to do it right.

Is “news on the internet” the same as “news on your phone”?

How do we calculate the true trends of people reading the news on the internet? Is reading a story on an app on on social media the same as reading a story online? The Pew Research Center has been perfecting how they survey people about their reading habits for years - Elisa Shearer shares some insights from the inside.

Working across disciplines: A manifesto for happy newsrooms

This piece from NiemanReports argues interdisciplinary teams are essential in the modern newsroom. Publishing in 2019 and beyond opens the doors for new approaches and new skills in newsrooms: coding, designing and data science to name a few. But to make this work, publishers need to adopt a fresh perspective!

👩‍💻 Technology

Six months into 2019, what new do we know about the state of podcasting?

The latest issue of Hot Pod (republished on NiemanLab) takes a look at the latest news and insights in the growing podcasting industry, and gets top points for creative use of the word “somnambulant”.

Why you have to keep logging in to read news on your phone

“Do you pay for news online? The news industry thanks you for your business. Want to read that publication on your phone without having to log in over and over again? You’re mostly out of luck.”

🤷 WTF?

Newsroom employment has declined 25% in a decade

Pew have reported that while employment decline has been driven by job losses at newspapers, digital-native news outlets continue to generate too few positions to balance things out!

#57 — Monetisation for news is tough, but not impossible

#57 — Monetisation for news is tough, but not impossible

Hi everyone, welcome back to your weekly issue of the top stories in digital publishing and the media 🗞️

Got a suggestion for us? Hit reply, we’d love to hear more about what you’re working on, and what you’d like to see in future issues.

💯 Top picks

Monetisation of news is tough, but not impossible

GEN interview Nic Newman, the journalist and digital strategist who shaped the BBC’s internet services over more than a decade, about monetisation of content and the dependency on tech in the media.

💸 Business models

Inside the box: A look at news, niche, and inspired subscription strategies

As more publishers are moving their strategies towards digital subscriptions, it's worth taking a step back to understand what they can learn from other subscription services. This article dives into what can be understood from subscription box services, such as the value of curation and catering for churn.

'Newsletters as puzzle pieces': How The Economist uses email to reduce subscriber churn

Speaking of Churn - this Digiday piece explores how The Economist revamped their email newsletter strategy to keep people engaged. The key to their success? Value over volume!

Subscription media: The benefit of making more of your content available for free

Subscription sports broadcaster Dazn charges a monthly fee for viewers to access live, on-demand sports. But with lofty goals to expand the business, they’ve recently started experimenting with making more content free to access in order to acquire new subscribers.

✍️ Modern journalism

Q&A debate with the Editor-in-Chief of Vanity Fair

Check out this Q&A session and discussion with Radhika, the fifth Editor-in-Chief of the Vanity Fair Magazine (formerly worked for The New York Times, The Paris Review and TIME magazine). Thanks to Devansh Bhikajee from the Publisher Weekly community for the recommendation.

The New York Times goes all in on personalisation

“The Times knows its editors’ judgment of what’s important is one of its critical selling points. But in order to surface more than a sliver of its journalism each day, it’s now willing to respond to readers’ interests in a much bigger way."

Unpaywall – Read research papers, for free!

We recently stumbled across this tool which unlocks millions of peer-reviewed journal articles for free. Great for researchers and journalists!Don’t forget you can access a curated list of the best tools for digital publishers on our resources page.

Edition Vs Newsflow: Why edition readers are more valuable for modern publishers

Twipe dig into segmentation of readers by those who prefer Edition format, a bundled package of content (like this newsletter), or Newsflow format, with a daily stream of information. They found edition readers to be more loyal and engaged, and more likely to want to pay for a subscription.

Here’s The Correspondent’s budget for its English-language expansion

“This represents five full-time correspondents working in different parts of the world, as well as at least five freelancers each month.”

👩‍💻 Technology

Anyone with more than 30,000 social media followers is now considered a celebrity in the UK

The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK has decided that anyone with more than 30,000 social media followers or subscribers should be treated as a celebrity and subject to advertising rules - with one Instagram influencer having a post removed for endorsing medicines.

How to launch your own podcast on a shoestring budget [Podcast]

Want to jump on the podcasting bandwagon but cannot afford a production crew? Listen to this podcast about how to create a podcast (25 minute listen).

Superhuman says it will disable email read receipts by default after privacy controversy

Email startup Superhuman found itself caught up in controversy about how it uses tracking pixels, which allows users to see when and where people open their emails without consent. After some contemplation, the CEO Rahul Vohra wrote a thoughtful public apology, and announced that Superhuman will stop tracking location and turn off read receipts by default.

🤷 WTF?

Slack is bad, actually

“Your boss can read your DMs, and everyone can see how much you talk.”Monica Torres talks about Slack as a “tool of corporate surveillance” and gives tips on how to see who can read your private DMs.

#56 — Turning user-level data in to a churn reduction strategy

#56 — Turning user-level data in to a churn reduction strategy

Happy Sunday from the Publisher Weekly team! Here’s your latest curation of the most important news and stories in digital publishing! 👉

💯 Top picks

Habit formation: How The Wall Street Journal turned user-level data into a churn reduction strategy

“The Journal went on a quest to identify the user actions — an app download, an article share, repeat reading of a particular reporter’s stories — that can turn a new subscriber into a loyal one. Then it turned that knowledge into churn-reducing action.”

💸 Business models

Google changes that will soon impact publishers and weaken paywalls

Twipe take a look at upcoming Google updates that will impact publishers, including the indexing of podcasts and photo stories which will be displayed in the search results pages. Plus, there are going to be some changes to incognito mode which will prevent publishers from being able to stop readers bypassing their paywalls.

Why this one publisher uses WhatsApp to distribute their newsletter content!

Many publishers are taking advantage of successful email campaigns, but one local news publisher in Germany,, decided to take a different approach and send theirs via WhatsApp, with other publishers in Germany following suit. Sounds like a great idea, but a recent announcement from WhatsApp might put a stop to this, as they intend to stop supporting automated and bulk messaging in the app.

SmartNews has shown it can drive traffic. Can it drive subscriptions too?

News discovery app SmartNews boasts 40 million downloads worldwide, and has become the new biggest source of referral traffic for publishers, overtaking social media networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. But can it help publishers attract subscribers?

✍️ Modern journalism

R.I.P. Quartz Brief, the innovative mobile news app. Maybe “chatting with the news” isn’t something most people really want to do?

Quartz Brief is a mobile news app built around chat, with bots that feed content to users that is computer generated, but kinda written by humans. Basically, it’s the app that can text you the news. However, after three years, it has been reported that it will close down on July 1st – because maybe chatting with the news is just not what people are into!

The audience in the mind’s eye: How journalists imagine their readers

This piece from Columbia Journalism Review explores whether technology has influenced modern journalism – has it changed the way in which journalists form audience perceptions and their understanding of the audiences they serve? Read the full report here, it’s a long one!

A tech guide to being a freelance journalist!

Media and politics reporter Scott Nover shares his thoughts and tips for flying solo as a freelance journalist.

Can tools for user reviews help the news regain audience trust? [Podcast]

Although publishers have become more data-savvy with reviewing their website traffic and engagement metrics, it has been suggested that it is rarely scrutinised why readers lose trust or stop engaging with news content. New startup Credder thinks it has the answer, with a review platform that allows journalists and the public to review articles.

The Associated Press and Google are building a tool for sharing more local news — more quickly

“We’re living in an age of journalism where people want to help each other and are prioritizing collaboration over competition. We want to seize on that in a way that ensures no matter who is in the newsroom there’s still a mechanism for them to use this.”

5 insights that will strengthen engaged journalism

The Engaged Journalism Accelerator programme gathered 140 practitioners in Berlin for a community-driven journalism event. Here’s the top takeaways, including how to plan, how to retain reader trust and how to listen to your community.

👩‍💻 Technology

Email autocomplete is sucking the life out of communication

Have you noticed Gmail began finishing your sentences for you lately?When drafting emails in the Gmail editor, it now uses a tool called “Smart Compose” to decide how you should form the rest of your sentence. It even offers suggestions for quick replies using Smart Reply. Journalist Emily Reynolds doesn’t think it’s very smart at all and makes some great points in this article!

Recode’s Peter Kafka: 'Netflix is winning' [Podcast]

“There are many video streaming services hoping to be the next big player in the future of TV. Peter Kafka, a reporter at Recode Media and host of the Recode Media podcast by Vox, thinks Netflix has remained ahead of the curve and will retain the top spot for as long as streaming services keep positioning themselves as the answer to Netflix.”

🤷 WTF?

Monitor websites for changes & get email alerts

Check out this useful chrome extension for journalists and researchers, which tracks changes to web pages, pushing email alerts or even Slack & Discord messages when changes are published!

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

#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 👉

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. editors exit as shake-up continues

Two key editors left 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 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 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 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!, 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!

✍️ 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 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 — 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!

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Anders Norén
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:
5:07 AM - 4 Jun 2018
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Andy McIlwain
Publisher Weekly - Issue #29… 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
Thanks for the votes! I recommend this newsletter by @TryGhost (@JohnONolan) for thoughtful takes on publishing, subscription biz and future of creators:
4:38 PM - 8 Jul 2018
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