Digital Publishing Reader Revenue
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What Quartz and The Guardian have in common: The Media Roundup

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The subscriptions roundabout: Quartz drops paywall while Guardian tests app payments

Last week brought two big changes in the reader revenue space. Just as we paused for Easter, Quartz announced that it is removing its paywall entirely and is refocusing its membership offering on premium emails. Earlier in the week, The Guardian was reportedly experimenting with adding a paywall to its news app.

In my reporting for WNIP, I put these two stories together because, although the two publishers have started at opposite ends of the subscription spectrum, they have arrived at the same point. Reader revenue isn’t about what type of paywall to use, how much content to give away for free, or fancy membership perks. It is first and foremost the marriage of a good product, and a mission that the readers believe in.

The Guardian – with its 1 million+ voluntary digital subscribers – has found the confidence to try a paywall on an app designed for its most loyal users. And Quartz – its members primarily motivated by its mission – is doubling down on its relationship-building premium email newsletters.

How Vox Media’s growth explains what happens when digital media companies combine

In the wake of surprising media mergers, purchases, emerging platforms and inevitable closures, digitally focused firms have turned to consolidating brands. The longer term benefits of some of these high-profile deals have yet to be seen, and the bet is on about whether digital magazine media can survive in this form.

Ken Doctor: 18 months after launching a local news company (in an Alden market), here’s what I’ve learned

Almost 1.5 years after launching Lookout Local, Ken Doctor reflects on what they’ve learned from their first branch in Santa Cruz. Lots of good principles here about community, technology and mission-building for publishers of all sizes.

How news publishers made $11m selling NFTs

I still maintain this is a massive bubble which is going to pop at some point, leaving an ugly mess. But nonetheless, this is a fascinating look at some of the publishers cashing in while they can, whether through pixel art of dubious quality, or virtual billionaires.


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