The Atlantic, which we’ve praised multiple times for its handling of pandemic-era publishing, has announced its paid circulation is edging ever closer to one million. In an announcement on Wednesday the current affairs title announced it had added close to 300,000 new subscribers over the course of the past year, and crucially it has done so without having to offer much of the core product for free.
It said it had added the subs “without discounting; in fact, we’ve been strategically moving readers away from low introductory offers to prices that reflect the true worth of our journalism. The average value of each subscription has grown a stunning 45 percent since the first half of 2019, right before we launched our paywall.”
As ever take this with a little pinch of salt, as we know publications love to fudge their retention and subs numbers a little. On the face of it, though, this is good news for the magazine and suggests there is still headroom for news subscriptions in the US (which might explain why the FT is reopening its LA bureau after almost a decade).
And speaking of digital-first publications, Quartz is making changes to its three-year-old subscription program with a new focus on its email newsletters. Honestly I’d love to see Quartz’s more recent numbers – particularly how many of subscribers brought in by the 50% discounts and referral offers that are often included in its newsletters.
But while legacy publications are expanding, this analysis from Sara Fischer for Axios demonstrates that investors are no longer willing to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars on new digital media sites. She does, however, highlight a scant few that have secured some investment of late.
Facebook is in the very early stages of a pivot towards privacy. Very laudable, but as Alex Heath points out for The Verge it is effectively the social network admitting defeat having fiercely fought against any such changes in the past. C’est la vie!
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