Digital Publishing
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The must-read publishing stories you may have missed this week

A sneak peek into Apple’s magazine subscription app

With less than two weeks to go until Apple’s March 25 media event, speculation about what its new magazine subscription service will look like has reached an all-time high.

And with Apple News hitting 85 million readers last month, the tech giant has both the scale and aggression to give its ‘Spotify for magazines’ a real shot.

If you simply can’t wait until the 25th, then you’re in luck: developer Steve Troughton-Smith has been digging through the beta code for iOS 12.2 and macOS 10.14.4 and has uncovered details about how the service might work.

There are few surprises from what he can see, but the real question is how successful a PDF-based app will be, given the decline in global tablet sales, and the difficulty in reading magazines on mobiles. That’s one industry problem Apple doesn’t seem able to have a solution for.

What’s new this week

“Apple News Magazines” details leak: PDF-based, offline reading, both on iOS and macOS

New details about Apple’s revamped news and magazine subscription service—expected to be announced at the company’s Special Event on March 25—have been unearthed in Apple’s software code. 

10 essential media stats from February 2019
Record numbers for the New York Times, Facebook’s 15th Birthday, Spotify’s podcasting punt and brands go all in for digital video.
‘Pay gates’ perform better than paywalls, Swiss news publisher proves
NZZ found their conversion rate of registered users to paying subscribers has increased 5x since they altered their approach from building paywalls to creating “dynamic pay gates”.
Top media companies team up for “Project OAR”, to advance targeted ads on smart TVs
Project OAR will allow ad-inventory owners the technical ability to better monetize TV impressions through segment-based audience targeting and addressable insertions.
Former Magfest organiser Nikki Simpson on plans for The International Magazine Centre
Nikki Simpson introduces plans to launch The International Magazine Centre, a hub for publishers to promote magazine innovation and celebrate the industry’s past.
Facebook’s biggest losers: Content hurt by the last product strategy update
For the top ten categories that were most read by audiences coming from Facebook and some of their related sub-categories, here is how traffic changed year-over-year.

The membership model is one bright spot in the crisis in local journalism

Local digital media benefit from a stable source of funding to experiment and build a foundation for membership. Public media in the US has deep experience with membership models and also access to funding that can provide the runway startups need.

Luminary aims to become the Netflix of podcasts
“We want to become synonymous with podcasting in the same way Netflix has become synonymous with streaming…We think it can be done, and some of the top creators in the space agree.”
“Advertisers want to reach podcast listeners”: Audio audiences on the rise
Today more than 50% of people have listened to a podcast. In fact, at least one-third of the U.S. population reports listening to a podcast in the last month, up from 26% a year ago. 
Are you developing your paywall strategy for acquisition or retention?
While clearly your paywall strategy is key for acquisition, the model you use can have a large impact on your retention efforts as well.
34M unexpected pageviews: A novel news app is helping publishers draw massive traffic
Chartbeat’s data science team recently found that TopBuzz — a China-based news aggregation app — was responsible for a multi-million spike in pageviews among publishers late last year.
Publishers of all kinds can learn from the mistake of ignoring voice technology
More than US$46,000 is lost, per day, right now due to nonfunctional voice queries, equaling over US$17 million in 2019.
1,174% growth in pure-play ad spend: Report says digital ads will continue to drive growth
Pure-play ad spending in the UK is estimated to have grown by 1,174 per cent in a little over a decade.

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