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Publishers double down on subscriptions as challenges mount

Many believe robust subscription revenue is becoming increasingly important for maintaining viable businesses as the media landscape shifts quickly around them.


The rapidly changing media landscape means “robust subscription revenue” is becoming increasingly important in maintaining a viable publishing business. So says Toolkits’ Jack Marshall, reporting on publisher moves to step up the focus on subscriptions as a core revenue driver as monetising their audiences through advertising and commerce is becomes more challenging.

Toolkits asked senior executives from 28 individual publishers how focused their companies are on building subscription revenue now compared with last year. Seventeen said their focus has increased, 11 said it’s about the same as it was, and none said their focus on subscriptions has decreased. All of the companies currently operate a subscription business, even if they didn’t last year.

Marshall says, “Publishers’ growing focus on subscription revenue is unsurprising given the mounting challenges facing their businesses generally, and indirect revenue streams specifically.” He lists traffic declines, inventory oversupply and questions of brand safety as specific challenges.


General Election fever spreads at The Podcast Show

It’s day one of The Podcast Show in London and it’s fair to say that General Election fever has taken hold.

Our creator economy columnist Charlotte Henry was at The Podcast Show in London yesterday. Proving that mainstream podcasting is not all reality TV ‘stars’ and comedians, she’s reporting that the serious journos and policitians speaking were all a-flutter about the prospect of a snap general election in the UK (now called for July 4th). Looks like the ‘How to win an election’ podcast from The Times might be getting some serious attention. Maybe we’ll ask them to speak at next year’s Podcast & Newsletter Summit.


“Journalism moves fast…philanthropy moves slow.” Press Forward’s director wants to bring them together

“I see, every week, some example of where the two don’t understand each other. Each of them needs to shift a little bit.”

I worry about philanthropy as a business model. We talk all the time about the folly of building your media business on someone else’s platform. To me, relying on someone else to pay your bills also feels a little risky. That said, philanthropic grants are important in funding local news, especially in the US, and this piece highlights some of the challenges publishers face when they go looking for some help.


Newspaper delivery group Newsteam finds growing profit in print

UK newspaper delivery business Newsteam Group has swung to a £1.1m pre-tax profit, up from a loss of £1.43m in 2022.

Here’s a story I never imagined linking to: The UK’s largest newspaper and magazine delivery business has turned a £1.44m loss in 2022 into a £1.1m pre-tax profit in in 2023. And 2024 is on track to be even better. The turnaround is said to be down to software improvements and the acquisition of newspaper rounds from newsagents looking to exit the delivery business. Every cloud ????️

More from Media Voices


Smartico’s Christian Scherbel on reframing digital advertising for SMBs and publishers


Podcasts and newsletters: 5 similarities and 1 huge difference

Podcasts and newsletters offer publishers clear, ongoing, opportunities in audience expansion and engagement, content distribution and monetisation.


The Atlantic’s Nicholas Thompson on milestones, paywalls, and setting future goals

Nicholas Thompson talks about the experiments The Atlantic has run around its paywall strategy, and doing less but in much more depth.

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