Digital Publishing Reader Revenue
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So you have 10 million subscribers? That don’t impress me much: The Media Roundup

The New York Times announces it’s hit 10 million subscribers 3 years early

lot to talk about with this one, and something we’ll definitely dig into in greater detail on the podcast. In short, the NYT has reached its goal of 10 million subscribers three years ahead of schedule, in no small part thanks to the 1 million+ members that got grandfathered in from its recent acquisition of The Athletic w̶h̶i̶c̶h̶ ̶w̶a̶s̶ ̶j̶u̶s̶t̶ ̶a̶ ̶b̶i̶g̶ ̶g̶r̶i̶f̶t̶ ̶l̶e̶t̶’̶s̶ ̶b̶e̶ ̶h̶o̶n̶e̶s̶t̶. It has updated its target, and now seeks to have 15 million subscribers by the end of 2027.

That’s great. Well done, that’s a great achievement and a strong revenue base. But one day in the not too distant future our industry needs to have a serious chat about subscription discounting and what that does to ARPU and the perceived value of news. We know that it increases reach, absolutely, and even a low annual price is valuable if it brings readers into your ecosystem to be monetised in other ways. In that sense it absolutely makes sense for larger publications like the NYT.

But as with the acquisition of The Athletic, ultimately that just harms the news ecosystem as a whole. How can smaller publications – the ones that cater to communities shut out of the NYT’s conversations, and the local ones that are a lifeline to towns and regions – compete? It’s a difficult conversation, because we’re forced to examine the collateral cost of success. But at least it’s keeping Wordle free!

Smaller and perfectly formed: primary-engagement media

Relatedly, Brian Morrisey makes the very salient point that smaller subscription figures are often more reliable and useful. He says that “the catch of primary-engagement media… is it requires a comfort level with smaller numbers”. Well worth a read.

How CNN, the New York Times, and other major media outlets monetize your data and lobby against regulation

Good one from The Intercept about the bind that publishers find themselves in when reporting on misuse of data. The “surveillance advertising” industry makes online news possible – and even if we had no hand in developing that tech, many publishers still use it, and even argue that it is part of the implied compact between reader and publisher.

We have dangerously overestimated Joe Rogan’s influence

A really good take on the recent brouhaha at Spotify from Hussein Kesvani. Effectively, if we focus on specific instances of Joe Rogan spreading misinformation, we risk allowing Spotify to get off the hook for allowing misinformation to flourish on the platform. Widely applicable too, given that all platforms are guilty of this sooner or later.

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