Nieman Lab’s Joshua Benton is railing against publishing’s misue of the term subscriber, and not for the first time. He previously wrote about it in response to the Ozy media debacle. This time it’s Punchbowl that has raised his ire: the newsletter company is claiming 100,000 subscribers, but reporting revenues from just 3,000 paying readers.
Jacob Donnelly picked out this perfect paragraph on Twitter:
“In what world is it useful to lump together ‘people who pay $400 a year’ and ‘email addresses in a Mailchimp list’ … ‘That new French restaurant downtown serves 8,300 people every night! About 40 order the $200 prix fixe tasting menu, while 8,260 enjoy a glimpse of the front door as they stroll past its storefront’.”
Joshua’s advice for both publishers reporting their own numbers or reporters covering their progress: Reserve the word “subscribers” for people who actually pay a media company money.
Before I read this I was sorely tempted to file it in the ‘grass is always greener’ folder, but after a closer look, author Heidi Legg has a point. She lists Future and Tortoise as examples of great, innovative publishing businesses. And her assertion that commercial media innovation has been stifled in the US by the platforms and vulture capital is well made.
And as if to underline the point made in the previous story, the BBC is reporting that it has achieved its highest ever global audience, averaging 489 million adults every week in 2020/2021. This represents an increase of over 20 million on the previous year. If only the British government could see the value of the BBC the way the rest of the world does.
Spotify has introduced a new Netflix hub that’s home to all the music from the streaming giant’s shows and movies. It houses official playlists and soundtracks for some of Netflix’s most popular content, as well as Netflix-related podcasts. Does this signal the early days of the Great Streaming Consolidation?
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