Subscription Media: Aug 25, 2020

By  Recuro
Aug 25th 2020
Read time: 
3 minutes
Table of contents

WEEKLY NEWS ROUNDUP

1. News publishers join fight against Apple over App Store terms – Digiday

In a letter to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook on Thursday, a trade body representing the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other publishers said the outlets want to know what it would take for them to get better deal terms—which would allow them to keep more money from digital subscriptions sold through Apple’s app store.

App developers, including news publishers, pay Apple 30% of the revenue from first-time subscriptions made through iOS apps; that commission is reduced to 15% after the subscriber’s first year. Apple says the revenue split is similar to other app marketplaces and allows the company to cover the app store’s operating expenses.

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2. LA Times digital subscriptions stalled despite strategic push and pandemic readership boost – The Wrap

The Los Angeles Times continues to lag far behind national competitors in its attempt to build a robust digital subscription base, falling well short of its target of 300,000 subscribers set for the end of 2019. The big challenge for the newspaper is retention.

The newspaper had only 253,000 paying digital subscribers as of early August, a Times spokesperson told TheWrap on Tuesday, with another roughly 103,000 digital subscribers accounted for through promotional partners like Apple News, that do not pay publishers per-person fees.

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3. Laid-off journalist launches her own local news site and gains 1,200 digital subscribers  – The Newstart Alliance

After having been laid-off from the Des Moines Register, Amy Duncan launched a website entirely dedicated to Indianola, a small city in Iowa of nearly 16,000 residents.  Two years later, her local newspaper has close to 1,200 digital subscribers.

Duncan said she sees comments on Facebook posts from folks who say they’re not going to pay to read her articles behind a paywall (of course), but “a lot of people have stepped up and said, ‘Hey, this is how they’re making a living. If we want to have this, we have to pay for it.'”

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4. Report: Local press paywall stories generating more revenue than ads – Hold the Frontpage

Some individual regional press stories which appear behind paywalls are generating more revenue than digital advertising, claims a new report from the British government’s Future News Pilote Fund.

“Even at this early stage, some articles generated a higher gross revenue via Axate payments than they would have generated through digital advertising using average industry rates.”

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5. How publishers are using audio stories to fuel engagement and generate revenue – What’s New in Publishing

The increasing popularity of podcasts has encouraged publishers to expand their audio offerings. Many have introduced audio versions of articles – with the goal of giving busy readers an easier way to keep themselves updated while doing daily chores.

“Our [The Economist’s] evidence suggests that the audio edition is a very effective retention tool; once you come to rely on it, you won’t unsubscribe.”

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WEEKLY ANALYSIS ROUNDUP

1. Fortnite’s battle with Apple and Google could have an impact on news publishers, too – Nieman Lab

For more than a decade, handing 30 percent of subscription revenues to the tech giants has just been the cost of doing business. A gaming fight could unlock new ways to pay.

How is this all going end? Who knows — Epic seems determined, and you get the sense this could be the moment in which a decade of frustration finally turns into action, either by the tech giants voluntarily or by regulators, Congress, or the courts.

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2. Explained: Google’s tussle in Australia over paying publishers for news – Digiday

This week, Google has ramped up its lobbying efforts in Australia after the competition regulator there issued a draft bill that proposes forcing tech giants to pay publishers for their news content. Here’s what global publishers need to know about the latest regulatory twists and turns down under between Google and the news business.

Should the new Australian rules be introduced, it could pave the way for other global jurisdictions to follow suit — not least as regulatory pressure continues to ramp up on the digital giants in Europe.

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3. Economist readership analysed: Detailed breakdown by platform – Press Gazette

The Economist’s print magazine is only its ninth most popular platform, growing at a yearly rate of 6 percent. The magazine’s app subscribers, in contrast, grew 166 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2020.

The Economist’s print magazine edition itself achieved modest overall growth of 6% year on year to 906,611 issues per week. But this was achieved through growth in free copies, while actively purchased sales dropped by 10%.

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THE WEEKLY DATA POINT

25 percent

of publishers surveyed in Keywee’s The State of Publishing in 2020 expect higher YoY revenue in Q3 and Q4 compared to the same period in 2019.

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