“An unlikely trend is developing in the media industry: people think they can make real money from local news.”
“It’s happening in different formats and in different locations. Axios will release newsletters in four markets early next year. David Plotz, formerly the CEO of Atlas Obscura and editor-in-chief of Slate, is launching a podcast company called City Cast, which will produce local news audio shows in the hopes of pooling them together to better sell ads. At Patch, the hyperlocal publisher, revenue is up 30% year over year, buoyed by direct sales amid greater reader interest about what is happening in communities, from coronavirus updates to info about polling locations.”
Related: Check out 8 Reasons Why Email Newsletters Are a Game-Changer for Local News
Joshua Gillin, Senior Editor of Engagement at the Tampa Bay Times explains the process they used to add a text subscription to their offerings to provide readers with election coverage. It’s a great glimpse into how this option can work for newspapers transitioning from print to digital media.
Related: Check out these 3 Publishers that saw Business Impact with Digital News Innovation Projects
Agile publishers have pivoted during the Coronavirus, spinning up new newsletters on topics readers may need help navigating. It’s Not Just You: Big-Hearted Advice for Anxious Times from TIME will deliver weekly advice and empathy from essayist Susanna Schrobsdorff.
“With traditional media funding models in disarray, a number of outlets are looking at alternative ways to ensure their profitability or survival, among them implementing a paywall for content, asking for reader donations, or creating a membership model by establishing a community of champions for their work.”
Check out this interview with Ariel Zirulnick of The Membership Puzzle Project (MPP), which recently published a guide to membership best practices and common mistakes after speaking with teams in 50 newsrooms.
“‘By charging, you provide really high quality leads to sponsors,’ said James. And while it may be a couple hundred top-tier leads, those leads are exponentially more likely to make a purchase from a sponsor than 2,000 regular leads that trickle in and out during an event, or don’t tune in at all.”
Simon Owens breaks down the potential of enterprise subscription revenue models such as the Bloomberg Terminal.
This Poynter article unpacks the latest Zuora report on publishing subscriptions.
The bottom line:
“Subscription volume continues to grow even during the pandemic, but ads (as measured by other sources) are sinking even faster than they were before and will continue to do so...
Hence, ‘publishers who are not using digital subscriptions should start,’ the report recommends.”
Related: Check out How premium, ad-free subscriptions are working in local news
Also Related: Find out why In Reader Revenue Model, It’s All About Who You Know
How do publishers convert subscribers from print to digital? Print only on Sundays and lend subscribers iPads for the daily digital editions.
That’s what the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette started doing two years ago, and it’s been a successful way to reduce churn, so far. Subscribers can keep the iPad as long as their subscription is active.
The secret? The online layout is the same as a traditional paper. Read more about the pros and cons of e-replica editions here.
Click through to see why the publisher sees it as a sound investment.
Note: I discovered this article via Media Roundup
Also Related: Revisiting the Digiday Plan
Learn how The Daily Memphian engages 45,000 email newsletter subscribers in this Editor & Publisher video interview. Founder and CEO Eric Barnes explains the strategy behind the digital only non-profit, online-only newspaper.
He explains the art and science of deciding which stories are free vs subscriber only, and how that is evolving.