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As always, we'll be sharing the latest and greatest ideas, inspiration and stories for independent publishing every Sunday. To kick things off, we've got lots of interesting hot takes on preparing your publishing strategy for the year ahead.
💯 2020 forecasts
At the end of each year, NiemanLab ask people in journalism and digital media to share what they think is coming in the following 12 months. Here’s the roundup of the latest predictions, including some of our favourites: “Respect the non-paying audience” & “A return to blogs (finally? sort of?)”
[Podcast] What 2020 holds for the publishing industry, from the streaming wars to the end of the cookie
Digiday’s reporters weigh in on the year ahead and discuss the streaming wars, a future that goes “beyond the cookie” and how publishers’ revenue streams may change (29 minute listen).
“The New York Times Product and Design Discovery team took a human-centered design research process to understand how people use technology and what that might mean for news.”
2019 saw lots publishers putting up paywalls and introducing subscriptions. This growth in recurring reader revenue against a backdrop of a failing advertising market has been the beacon of hope of the past 12 months. But as in any business with recurring revenue will attest, the next part of the journey will be battling with churn! Digiday discusses how the more mature publications will be approaching this in 2020.
💸 Business models
"Publishers large and small are joining earlier adopters with their own reader revenues plays. But with subscription fatigue threatening, quality content and smart reader retention strategies will be necessary for success”.
Senior Editor at Newsday, Anthony Bottan, shares how they have driven subscriptions and increased engagement through newsletters by using audience data to identify high-interest topics among users with impressive results.
Gazeta Wyborcza, one of Poland’s leading newspapers now has over 200,000 subscribers, ranking 23rd in the global digital subscriptions snapshot. They share the attributes that helped them to achieve this success here!
“For publishers, the biggest priorities heading into 2020 are how to grow revenue they can control: Both through direct-sold ads and subscriptions.”
Onboarding campaigns are well versed in the SaaS industry, and are becoming increasingly popular for subscription publishers to improve engagement with new paid subscribers. Check out this article to find out how real publishers are implementing onboarding in their subscription flows.
✍️ Modern journalism
Poynter put together this resource with links to their favourite classic writing tips - and since a new year is a great time to revisit (or discover) ideas for writing, we really enjoyed diving into some of these articles.
“With trust in influencers waning, could it be that journalists are in a prime position to influence culture? Phil McKenzie thinks so.”
The big story of podcasting in 2019 was all about Spotify. Will 2020 be the year Apple strikes back?
“Plus: A podcast network for tweens, NPR updates its fee model, Luminary’s collapse, and a few more thoughts on 2019.”
“Global TV advertising sales fell almost 4% in 2019, the steepest drop since the depths of the economic recession in 2009, in the latest sign that advertisers are following viewers to the internet.”
Publishers are starting to see more traffic being driven from mobile news aggregators like TopBuzz, News Break, Flipboard and SmartNews, which allows them to diversify traffic sources from the likes of Google and Facebook.
A fitting way to round up this issue: “It’s easy to put on rose-colored glasses in December and predict a glorious future for one’s industry. But this is media, so it makes more sense to deliver some frank reminders about what’s not going to happen in 2020 instead.”