A fool and his money may be easily parted – but not necessarily as easily as publishers would like. New research from What If has demonstrated that 84.1% of consumers are unwilling to pay for newsletters, even if it is their chosen medium for news consumption. Instead, nearly 4 in 5 would rather access ad-supported content for free than pay for premium, ad-free newsletter experiences.
That’s not necessarily the end of the world – that 15.9% of people who’ll pay still represents an awful lot of potential subscribers – but it does speak to the challenge that comes with monetising a medium that has traditionally been free to access.
That’s a challenge Apple is likely to face with its mooted paid-for podcast subscription service. Though there have been experiments with paid-for podcasts, or podcasts as part of larger subscription bundles, it’s vanishingly unlikely that many consumers will pay for an audio product in a vast sea of free alternatives. If this sounds familiar, it is. It’s the digital publishing challenge all over again.
In a shocking turn of events, that thing that everyone said would work turns out to have worked – years after it would have been useful. More proof that deplatforming works – and a handy precedent to cite next time the platforms defer responsibility.
Relevance pays. We’ve seen that the cost-cutting efforts from local publishers was ultimately self-defeating – and this case study from NorthJersey.com demonstrated that relevance is ultimately the biggest driver of subscriptions.
This, the first in a series from Styli Charalambous, examines the (many) issues facing the journalism industry. From endemic issues of expertise loss as jobs disappear to the need for new means of funding, it’s a great introduction to the walls we need to break this year and beyond.This content originally appeared in The Media Roundup, a daily newsletter from Media Voices. Subscribe here: