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Here's your roundup for the week 👉
💯 Top picks
The Digiday Podcast catches up with the co-founder of a sustainable and profitable email-first media business, Morning Brew. Give yourself 26 minutes to listen to Austin's thoughts on business models, competing with big media and building a subscription business with few resources.
💸 Business models
A new study by Reuters Institute challenges the fears about paywalls limiting access to online news. They found that more than two-thirds of leading newspapers in Europe and the US are operating a paywall of some description, but hard paywalls that completely restrict access are rare.
The full study surveyed media in 7 countries and goes into detail about the average costs for paywalled news. Many charts - lots of data!
Co-workers at Greeley Tribune, Colorado were tasked to launch and grow a paid newsletter called The Playbook, covering rural prep sports in Northern Colorado. It failed to meet expectations after 5 months, so it was canned. Here’s what they learnt in the process!
“In an ideal world, every piece of journalistic writing would be compelling, sharp and immersive. But in reality, it is all too easy to churn out templated stories that get hardly read past the first paragraph.”
First quarter earnings for the NYT were posted this week and they exceeded expectations with a net income of $30.2 million, 223,000 new digital subscriptions and 19% growth in digital advertising revenue.
Other than record first quarter growth, the New York Times are also expanding into other verticals as a way to test the waters and find out what their audience want, before launching new subscription products. They did this with cooking, next up: parenting
✍️ Modern journalism
“Million-dollar payouts common to news CEOs despite layoffs, cutbacks and stagnant salaries on the ground.”
“Local newspapers are failing to make the digital transition larger players did — and are in danger of vanishing.”
“For journalists, this era of information warfare presents both a personal and an existential threat. It also presents a myriad of new questions about how the rules and ethics applied to journalism should change.”
Axios dig into what type of content does best on each social network, and a growing trend for media companies shifting to more niche channels for distribution.
Publishers love getting affiliate revenue from their reviews. So is it okay for Amazon to pay to get more of those reviews upfront?
“This might be a rare instance of the goals of a platform genuinely aligning with the goals of a publisher — or another case of publishers’ revenue streams being at the mercy of a tech company’s priorities.”
ESPN and the New York Times are exploring how to match marketing to their users’ emotions - Emily Bell dives into the ethical considerations.