With display cratering and the quest for scale falling out of fashion, publishers have been doubling down on what makes their media brands unique. In order to attract — and attain — a loyal audience it pays to be different. Literally. Publishers are working hard at cracking new business models. And those that don’t — see: the Guardian U.S. — provide a chilling cautionary tale.
For harder news sites, the challenge is tricky: News itself has become commoditised. In order to stand out in a crowded field, media companies are rediscovering the joys of differentiated content. The Times of London is among them. The paper has seen subscriptions sales jump 200 percent in the last year. The tipping point came when it pivoted from publishing on a breaking-news cycle to a digital editions-based publishing strategy a year ago.
Appointment reading helps too. “What has been revolutionary for us and editorial is that in changing to the editions’ publishing strategy and moving away from rolling news, we now have appointments to view with our subscribers and registered users that we didn’t have previously,” said Catherine Newman, chief marketing officer at The Times and Sunday Times.