Good morning! Today’s newsletter is brought to you by Esther.
After many years of following Nieman Lab’s annual predictions, I was honoured (and slightly panicked) this year to be asked to contribute one. Mine is based on a couple of conversations I’ve had with subscription experts and people working on publisher products, and is something I’ve seen publishers like the FT and Tortoise try already.
In short, full subscriptions are only ever going to convert a small portion of readers. Once growth slows and the lowest-hanging fruit — the superfans — have signed up, publishers will have to get smarter about how to make money from the rest. I argue that publishers will get smarter about carving off portions of paid content to entice readers.
Interestingly, this caused some debate on the Media Voices team. Peter firmly believes the opposite will happen next year: that economic pressures will force publishers to increase the value of subscription bundles, not risk experimenting with segmentation. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
If there is a positive story in the ad-spending downgrades being issued this week, it’s that ad budgets are becoming far less concentrated among the big digital platforms and the biggest beneficiaries are smaller digital publishers and – surprise – traditional media.
After decades of decline, local news had been written off as a casualty of the digital age. But wide availability of digital publishing tools and technology has made it easier for newer organisations to grow. Here’s a round up of the year in local news as part of our Media Moments 2022 report.
In-flight magazine publishing wasn’t a great market to be in when the pandemic hit in 2020. Now however, Ink – the largest in-flight magazine publisher in the world – is back to full strength. Chief Executive Simon Leslie “designed in my head a business that would come out of the other side, and that’s what I went about building.”
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Given we’re talking about local news in the newsletter today, throwing back to our special podcast documentary on local news start-ups in the US seems appropriate. Four founders discuss what drove them to start their publications, what business models they’re choosing to use, and some of the challenges they’ve faced launching a media business.
We’ve extended the entry deadline for the Publisher Podcast Awards for an extra week, so you’ve got until this coming Friday 16th to submit your best podcasts.