Business models, Podcasts, Publishers, Strategy

Skift CEO Rafat Ali on paid content and the perils of VC funding

This week we hear from Rafat Ali, co-founder and CEO of boutique travel publisher Skift. We spoke about what connects the dots between paid content, travel, dining and wellness, his belief in trendlines not headlines, his long-term aspirations for Skift vs short-term VC plays, and why he wants to be useless to his business.

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Analysis

Why micropayments aren’t dead…yet

Far from being a failed experiment, Esther Kezia Thorpe argues that we need to think bigger when it comes to micropayments, for What’s New in Publishing.

With the rise of subscriptions and paywalls comes the realisation that there’s a large chunk of a publisher’s audience that they may never be able to effectively monetise. Only an estimated 5% of a publisher’s digital readership will convert to pay for a full subscription, according to Digiday.

But what’s the alternative? Micropayments are one of the alternative revenue streams touted by hopeful tech start-ups and half-heartedly trialled by some organisations. But you’d be hard pushed to think of a publisher in the Western hemisphere who has properly explored micropayments, for better or for worse.

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Analysis

You Can Sell Anything Once, But How Do You Keep Readers Paying for Content?

Peter Houston explores the ‘Four P’s of Retention’ in his latest article for Publishing Executive.

Though the UK’s vote to exit the EU and the election of Donald Trump may have roiled the British and American public, both have been great for subscription sales. Stories of the readership surge caused by the Trump Bump and the Brexit Bounce are legend among audience development professionals.

Everyone knows, except maybe the president, that The New York Times gained more than 250,000 subscribers in the quarter after his election. The UK’s own Times newspaper doubled its subscription sales over the weekend of the EU referendum by opening access to deep-dive Brexit pieces like: Life after Brexit: what happens next.

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Analysis

If Paid Content is the New Hope, How Do We Convert Free Readers to Paying Ones?

Peter Houston looks at what will convert an audience from free to paid in his latest article for Publishing Executive

So we’re agreed? Reader revenue is the way to go. We’re over traffic-at-scale and ad-only funding models. Subscriptions probably won’t pay all your bills, but a healthy mix of subs and ad sales is what we’re all about these days.

OK? Great! Now that we’ve settled the paid content argument, how are we actually going to get people to pay?

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Analysis

Reader revenues? Absolutely, but what will people pay for?

The pivot to paid-content is undoubtedly a positive move for publishers, but what exactly should we be asking our audiences to buy? Peter Houston reports.

If you’re reading InPublishing, it’s probably safe to assume that you care about the future of the publishing industry. And assuming that you care, you probably welcome the signs that the industry has a new revenue stream worth embracing: you’re happy that paid-content is firmly on publishing’s radar.

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Analysis

Are Digital Magazine Apps A Stepping-Stone to Paid Content?

Peter Houston revisits the world of digital magazines for Publishing Executive

The conventional wisdom on digital magazines is that they’re dead, at least as a custom format, separate from print and enhanced for the tablet or phone.

Apple often gets the blame – killing Newsstand killed digital magazines. But the shuttering of Apple’s standalone magazine space, as awful as it always was, was a symptom not a cause. Excessive production costs and audience apathy killed the generation of magazine apps inspired by the launch of the iPad.

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Business models, Podcasts, Strategy

Paywall Special

In this bumper episode, the team discusses the rise of the paywall. As everyone from Vanity Fair to the New Statesman have decided to launch paywalls, we try to determine whether there is a recipe for paywall success, taking in everything from the need for brand recognition, the propensity for people to pay, and the likely outcomes of the trend towards reader revenue.

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Editorial content, Podcasts, Publications

Refinery29’s Jacqui Kavanagh on authenticity of experience

In this week’s episode of Media Voices, we speak to Refinery29’s Jacqui Kavanagh about the brand’s success in Europe since it launched in 2015, about what authenticity means to brands and audiences, and why experiential is a growth industry.

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Podcasts

End of Year Special 2017

Never say we at Media Voices don’t know how to treat you right – in this special end-of-year celebration, we hear from eight of our past guests about what they want (and don’t want) to see from the media in 2018.

In the feature-length news round-up Chris, Esther and Peter discuss the highlights and lowlights of 2017, and their own personal hopes and fears for next year.

Happy holidays!

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Business models, Innovations, Podcasts, Strategy

NYU’s Jay Rosen on the Membership Puzzle Project

This week, director of the Membership Puzzle Project Jay Rosen takes us through why membership could be the future of funding journalism, and what needs to be done to make it valuable to readers and publishers alike.

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