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Vox launches subscription program as news publishers race to diversify revenue streams

Vox is preparing to celebrate its 10th birthday — making a major change to its business model that reflects how digital news publishers are scrambling to evolve as they are increasingly starved of referral traffic and advertising revenue.


I hadn’t even realised that Vox’s tenth birthday is on the horizon — double digits for a digital pureplay! — but here we are. And, just as people often make resolutions upon reaching certain ages and realising their knees are starting to ache, the team at Vox is preparing to shift its business strategy away from flighty advertising revenue and towards something they believe to be more stable:

“While the site and its suite of content will continue to remain free to readers, its new members-only program is additive to Vox’s existing content and will be the only programming behind a paywall. The outlet will count the revenue it earns from subscriptions as an added stream, with the publisher opting for a hybrid model consisting of multiple forms of revenue, including advertising and grants.”

Yeah, that makes sense. And for a publisher like Vox, which does have a reputation for doing in-depth coverage and explainers across a number of verticals, it’s a strategy that actually has a chance of bearing fruit. Most importantly, the plan appears to have been green-lit following Vox’s successful reader donation drive, suggesting that was a test of potential ongoing support.


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

SMBs (small- and medium-sized businesses) have historically made up a huge proportion of the overall advertising ecosystem, the connective tissue between a local business, a regional newspaper and the local population. However, when it comes to digital advertising, scale has been seen as the end goal. But what if it needn’t be?


Prince Harry’s bid to include Rupert Murdoch, Piers Morgan in phone hacking lawsuit rejected by judge

A London High Court judge has rejected a bid from Prince Harry to include claims against Rupert Murdoch and Piers Morgan in his lawsuit.

News Group Newspapers have always strenuously denied that anyone really important knew about the phone hacking taking place at its titles — and have in fact paid out vast sums to the people who have accused it because that’s absolutely what you do when you’re innocent. But, for those of us who want to know how far up the chain that knowledge went, this is disappointing. Light is the best disinfectant, and you’d have thought an innocent party would welcome the opportunity to clear its name.


Scoop: Google threatens to pause Google News Initiative funding in U.S.

The giant opposes proposed California taxes on digital ads and links aimed at funding newsrooms.

The Google News Initiative has funded some fascinating experiments in news tech and provision at local titles. Now, that’s under threat as the search and advertising company threatens to pause it across the entire of the US in light of ongoing (largely unreleated) link tax legislation in California. Once again, the petulent fight between huge media companies and platforms is harming smaller publishers and the publics they serve.

More from Media Voices


Lessons from the creator economy: how creators are avoiding VC funding pitfalls

Creators are looking to diversify their revenue streams and, just as media companies do, occasionally seek the aid of VC funding to do so.


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.


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.

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