Audience Engagement Digital Publishing
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Depp-Heard trial emboldens content creators to lean harder into breaking news: The Media Roundup

We’re looking at why content creators’ coverage of the Depp-Heard trial is concerning, the incoming pivot to video II, some reader revenue models for those not ready to pay full price, and some tips to developing effective retention strategies.

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Johnny Depp trial gives rise to a new breed of content creators

The trial became an online phenomenon, thanks in large part to the creators and influencers who pivoted their accounts to focus solely on the trial, almost universally with pro-Depp stance. You can “go from being a kid in high school and, if you hop on it early, it can basically change your life,” one creator said.

If we think the trust issue with audiences is bad now, it’s set to get a whole lot worse. Many younger audiences in particular believe news from content creators and influencers is more trustworthy than mainstream media. But these creators – from makeup artists to meme accounts and real estate influencers – are increasingly incentivised to break journalistic norms in order to fit the narrative that will make them the most money.

“The popularity of the trial online has only emboldened influencers to lean harder into breaking news and compete more directly with traditional news organizations on coverage,” Taylor Lorenz notes. There’s a storm brewing…

Pivot 2 Video: Why all signs point to another you-know-what

The ‘pivot to video’ of 2015-2017 “hangs around the neck of the industry like an albatross,” says Mark Stenberg. He’s now seeing a growing number of publishers renewing that push. After all, the market has come a long way since 2015. But the most convincing reason for publishers to embrace video (again) is also the most alarming.

These reader revenue models keep in mind people who won’t pay full price (yet)

South Africa’s Daily Maverick offers a “pay what you can afford” model, while Spain’s allows members to pay nothing at all. In Portugal, Público has offered free digital subscriptions to unemployed people, while Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter has flexed its paywall to attract younger and more geographically diverse audiences.

How to develop effective retention strategies

The need for effective retention strategies has been thrown into the spotlight for publishers dealing with subscription drop offs following the highs of the pandemic’s stay-at-home shopping sprees. Current record growth in advertising revenues could morph into a similar slump as the cost of living crisis bites harder and marketing budgets tighten in line with consumer spending.

This content originally appeared in The Media Roundup, a daily newsletter from Media Voices. Subscribe here: