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Why the Indy’s betting big on ecommerce and AI

 

The Independent’s plan to reach £10m in reader revenue by 2026

The Independent aims to multiply its direct reader revenue by five within two to three years.

In yesterday’s newsletter you heard that The Independent had reached 5m registered users. Today we’re looking at what comes next. I spoke to the paper’s Chair John Paton, and he told me why he’s so confident the UK-based title will be able to multiply its revenue by five times within the next three years.

He explains that the paper has had three defining eras, as he sees it. The first was about print – and when it ultimately left that format behind the focus became about digital. And now it is heading into its third era, that of growth – both geographically and in terms of revenue.

My favourite part of the interview was the section on AI. While it didn’t all make it into the final article we chatted about how it’s increasingly worming its way into company results to paper over the cracks of weak business models. Leaky ship? Slap an AI sticker over it.


 

Acast launches new tech integrating publishers’ paywalls with podcast platforms

Podcasting business Acast has launched a product allowing news publishers to integrate their paywalls into platforms like Apple Podcasts.

This seems like an inevitable move, and one that I’m surprised hasn’t been pushed for more strongly by publishers. Acast is integrating its tech with publishers’ paywalls, removing a bit of the faff that comes with monetising their audio content.


 

BuzzFeed UK believes AI creative will supercharge its advertising potential

The digital media firm announced its first AI-powered quizzes earlier this year and has already announced a suite of new products. Here’s why its senior director of UK content James Martin is bullish on AI for commercial publishing.

I spoke to BuzzFeed’s senior director of UK content James Martin about its plans to integrate AI into its marketing pitch. You’ll have heard Peter’s thoughts on the risks of AI-generated content on the podcast – here’s how Martin believes BuzzFeed can do it in a way that benefits it commercially but in a safe and editorially consistent manner.


 

Website owners say traffic is plunging after Facebook algorithm change

With no communication from the company, publishers relying on Facebook traffic are at the mercy of the inscrutable algorithm. Data shows an apparent change at Facebook in May caused website traffic to tank at some news sites.

Another salvo in the battle between publishers and platforms, the forever war that will never end. When will measured discourse come back from the war? Never. In the platform-publisher war there’s no room for nuance. You’re either for us or against us. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.


More from Media Voices

 

Big Noises: Jacob Donnelly on why publishers can’t resist the pursuit of scale

On this week’s episode of Big Noises from Media Voices we hear from Jacob Donnelly, founder of A Media Operator and publisher at Morning Brew

 

Content is king? ‘Complete b*ll*cks; says media veteran Neil Thackray

If content was truly king, Neil believes the starting point would be a content-focused publishing strategy, but he doesn’t see that.

 

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