Tortoise is well known for its membership offering. It limits access to articles with a metered registration wall and only full members get access to the full site, ThinkIns, daily emails, podcasts, and member-only invitations. However, the publisher has spotted an opportunity to build additional reader revenue through Apple Podcasts’ Subscriptions tool. Listeners can buy a subscription to Tortoise’s gated podcasts via Apple without paying the full membership price. So far, the experiment has proved a success. “We’ve been delighted to discover how young our listeners are,” Tortoise Editor Basia Cummings has said. “In the world of news, that’s really important. Through our membership and our audio subscription, we’ve debunked the myth that younger people aren’t prepared to pay for news content.”
Announcing ‘a blueprint to build a digital-first public service media organisation’, the BBC has said 1,000 jobs will be cut over the next few years. Several channels, including CBBC and BBC 4 will go online only. Some regional TV news services will be scrapped. Director-general Tim Davie told staff the move was driven by the desire to ‘make life and society better for licence fee payers’. Of course it is Tim.
Pre-tax profits at Telegraph Media Group rose on the back of its subscription-first strategy. With a target of 1 million paying subscribers by 2023, digital subscription revenues grew in 2021 by 40% to £44.1 million, ahead of expectations. Overall revenue was up by 4% to £245 million; pre-tax profits were £29.6 million, up from £22 million in 2020.
In 2019, Poynter’s Rick Edmonds said the print edition of USA Today would be gone in two years. It’s not and in this piece Edmonds is trying to find out why his prediction proved to be wrong. The bottom line is, well, the bottom line – USA Today is still profitable in print and publisher Maribel Perez Wadsworth said, “We will continue to publish as long as readers want it, and it continues to make financial sense.”
This week’s podcast
Digital Director at Rolling Stone UK & Attitude Magazine Charlotte Cijffers on nurturing audiences online
This week we hear from Charlotte Cijffers, Digital Director at Rolling Stone UK & Attitude Magazine. We spoke about launching the iconic Rolling Stone title in the UK, her work on Attitude’s digital transformation, and the benefits of developing more localised content for magazines. She also gives advice on what publishers should focus on when looking to grow their own audiences online.
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