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The Athletic raises prices, Facebook splashes out, and sci-fi futurism: The Media Roundup

The Athletic raises annual subscription price after failed tie-ups

The Athletic raises the cost of an annual subscription to $72, the first time the sports-journalism upstart has raised prices since launch. The timing is especially interesting, given the most recent failed acquisition of the sports-based news service – both the NYT and Axios passed over the course of the past year.

In a previous episode or two we speculated that the entire business model of The Athletic – launch big in a valuable vertical with hugely discounted subscriptions or free trials – was purely in service on being attractive to those equally subscriber-hungry general news outlets. Now it seems that The Athletic is instead going to double down on a smaller number of more valuable users.

According to Variety its founder says that research shows that more than 80% of subscribers use The Athletic to keep up on more than two different sports leagues, with more than 40% of subscribers consuming content on more than four leagues each month. Even with that I’d love to see how its churn figures look this time next year…

Why Facebook is trying to buy instant influencer success

Last week Mark Zuckerberg announced a generous if nebulous package of $1bn for creators across Facebook and Instagram. For The Drum I asked why it’s splashing the cash now and if influencers and individual creators will follow publishers and take Facebook cash in exchange for reach.

Automattic, owner of Tumblr and, buys podcast app Pocket Casts

In the distant past Pocket Casts was my podcast app of choice. Now, as consolidation in the audio space continues, it’s been bought by Automattic, which will integrate it into its other platforms Tumblr and WordPress.

10 media innovations that were first introduced in science fiction

Finally, a fun one to start your week. As a reminder that there’s no idea so wild that the media industry won’t take a punt on it, this roundup of 10 innovations that derive from SF literature can potentially point the way to media’s future.

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