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How much do people pay for online news?

How much money do online news subscribers pay compared to the ‘full sticker’ price charged by news organisations?


If you write a regular newsletter about media, the Digital News Report is the gift that keeps on giving. Yesterday, the Reuters Institute highlighted the report’s findings on how many people are paying for news, but also how much they are paying. Price points are relative, but what’s interesting is that almost no one is paying full price, with most paying less than half.

The report says this is down to many news brands offering discounts and trials to encourage people to sign up. This chimes with my own experience with a certain US based digital-subscriptions giant – every time I reach the end of my low-cost trial period and threaten to cancel, I’m back on the super-cheap deal that got me to sign up in the first place.

The problem for publishers is cheap trials can be effective in getting sign-ups, but keeping people subscribed is another story. If trials result in high-rates of churn, publishers are stuck with people like me, paying below the ticket price, or having to replace old unprofitable readers with new unprofitable readers. Long term, well, that’s just not profitable.


Traditional media and Substack can grow together

I hope that as time has passed it has become more clear that traditional media and Substack can happily coexist, and even help each other.

I missed this post when it was published by Substack founder Hamish McKenzie at the end of last month and that’s almost more interesting to me than what it says (it says come work with us). A couple of years ago, the people Hamish calls traditional media were hanging on the Substack founder’s every word. Today, not so much. Maybe we’ve heard the Substack pitch before, maybe publishers are already sorted out for EMPs and lists. Either way, the Substack buzz appears to have subsided.


New culture secretary Lisa Nandy called for BBC to be ‘mutualised’ but backed licence fee

Lisa Nandy, the UK’s new culture secretary, has a history of backing the BBC licence fee and praising local journalism in her constituency.

Press Gazette offers a sensibly optimistic take on the appointment of Lisa Nandy as the UK’s new culture secretary. I’m hopeful that she can actually do a good job, but the starting point for that will be be to stay in the role longer than six months. If she manages that, she’ll already be doing better than most of her 14 immediate predecessors. I just hope our new government takes the department more seriously than the Tory Clownshow that went before.


The Beyond Print Toolkit

The Beyond Print Toolkit helps local newspapers build digital audiences, create new revenue streams, and reimagine the role of print.

I haven’t had a chance to dig into this yet, but I’m a sucker for a step-by-step guide, especially if it’s how to ‘reimagine the role of print and build sustainable long-term success’. There are chapters on communicating with staff and readers, revenue transitions and technology, all focused on helping publishers ‘continue to be there for their communities for years to come’.

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