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The first issue of The Grub Street Journal is off to the printers. If you fancy reading a brand new magazine about magazines, pre-order before we start mailing, April 1st.
This is an intriguing look at formats from Brian Morrissey. Story formats – how information and stories are structured – are increasingly being used as a core differentiator for publishing brands. Think BuzzFeed’s listicles and quizzes, Axios’s Smart Brevity, and more recently Semafor’s Semaform, which Max Tani told us more about in last week’s podcast.
Formats are important, but as Morrissey points out, are also invariably limited. “Often you’re just putting new packaging on the same stuff,” he notes. “Ultimately the product is going to live or die on the basis of its substance, not some amazing new format.”
The other point is that successful formats will inevitably be copied and dilute any competitive advantage publishers have – look at how many places now try and use the Axios-style bullet points. I’d actually completely forgotten Stories was originally a Snapchat invention…
Getting people onto your site is one thing. Keeping them there, and showing off the rest of your excellent content is quite another. That’s what the recirculation metric aims to measure. Madeleine White looks at why recirculation should be a key KPI, and pulls in some tips from The Independent about how to increase it.
Wessenden Marketing’s latest mediafutures report is absolutely packed full of useful info – I’m not even halfway through it yet. FIPP has pulled out some of the overarching themes here. Three-quarters of the UK’s leading media companies are currently seeing turnover growth at an average rate of 10% year-on-year, and despite the economic difficulties, 90% are in profit. “The industry’s key metrics are moving upwards – turnover, profitability and headcount – and that is linked to confidence, self belief and resilience,” the report’s author Jim Bilton says.
“In 2016, we made that brave decision to cease print and go digital only,” Jo Holdaway, chief data and marketing officer at The Independent told attendees at INMA’s Media Subscriptions Summit in Stockholm earlier this month. “The reason that we had to do that was financial. We were a loss-making business. We were forced to go digital only. We did not have a choice. And I think, because of that, we knew that we had to make it work.”
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