“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
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.
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
The Wall Street Journal reports that the digital news startup will be profitable this year, with newsletter sponsorships contributing more than 50% of the company’s total revenue.
TechCrunch, Axios, and everyone else reported the launch of Google News Showcase last week.
The premise is that Google will be paying select publishers to create and curate high-quality content.
“It’s not clear how much money individual publishers will make out of this initiative, nor how or if it could be used to drive business models that don’t cut Google in on the action. The latter has been a prime focus for many publishers for the last several years.”
Google News Showcase launches first in Brazil and Germany. Time will tell if the investment pleases publishers who both depend on and resent the tech giant. Some are already voicing concerns over the harm it may do to publishers not chosen to participate (the program began with 200).
See this Axios article for a bulleted breakdown of the current relationship status between the two and how this new twist might play out.
Facebook is testing features to reduce the friction of logging into a paywalled publication if you already have a subscription, plus actually show you more from that publication in your feed, but can they really recreate something that feels so 2008?
I hope so.
Also encouraging: Newspapers are shifting how they use the platform. While it still serves to drive website traffic to stories, they’ve figure out that it’s best used to promote digital subscriptions.
Image Credits: Bryce Durbin / TechCrunch