Subscription Media: Nov 24, 2020

By  Recuro
Nov 24th 2020
Read time: 
3 minutes
Table of contents


1. Apple is reducing the cut it takes from most news publishers’ subscriptions – Nieman Lab

Under pressure from a coalition of tech companies, Apple is reducing the App Store cut for any developer that earns less than $1 million in annual sales per year from all of their apps. Instead of taking 30% of new subscribers’ payments, Apple will now take 15%.

“Pro: Subscribing to something on your iPhone is ridiculously simple — no forms to fill out, no credit card to enter, just a couple of taps. Virtually frictionless. Pro: Most of American news outlets’ best customers use iPhones.”

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2. Condé Nast hunts for new ways to make money from its titles – Financial Times

The publisher of Vogue, The New Yorker and Wired aims to reverse years of losses by, among other things, focusing on online subscriptions. For example, Condé Nast is preparing to launch a subscription product for Bon Appétit to rival the NYT cooking app.

“The next year or so would be a period of investment, [CEO] Mr Lynch said, as he looked to beef up operations in subscriptions and ecommerce with a goal of reaching profitability in 2022. The company is hiring for about 300 engineering and product roles in the next year.”

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3. JPIMedia sees online subscriptions boost after newsroom restructure – Hold the Front Page

Scottish publisher JPIMedia restructured its newsroom into three teams covering live news, specialist news and sports, and went digital first. The result has been a substantial increase in traffic, and an increase in online subscriptions.

“We have changed everything about how we work – from the way we plan our content to how and when we deliver it.”

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4. Report: As subscription revenues grow strongly, publisher confidence is rebounding – What’s New in Publishing

AOP and Deloitte latest quarterly Digital Publishers Revenue Index reveals that subscription revenues for UK publishers grew by 44,9 percent in Q2 2020 compared to Q2 2019. Publisher confidence is also rebounding, with publishers now prioritising non-advertising revenue growth in a quest to diversify income streams.

“The industry’s focus during Q2 quite rightly fell on growing readership and subscriptions – the challenge for Q3 and beyond will be to sustain it.”

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1. How news publishers should use Black Friday to drive paid subscriptions – Press Gazette

Historically, publishers have neglected the opportunity to acquire new subscribers during the “shopping holiday” Black Friday, writes Press Gazette’s Fran Quilty. She sees an opportunity to, among other things, re-attract former subscribers by tailored offers based on user data.

“While [tailored marketing] isn’t common practice in the publishing sector, subscription pay-TV services are well-versed at retargeting people to highlight what shows/matches etc. they are missing out on as aligned to their individual preferences.”

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2. Where are news sites finding new subscribers?
– Digital Content Next

Publishers are always trying to attract the next great swath of subscribers. But where should they be seeking out these new audiences, asks Digital Content Next in a write-up about how successful publishers are working to widen their funnels.

“Student subscriptions are nothing new, but the breadth of titles aimed specifically at professionals, like The Financial Times, offering them widens all the time.”
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3. How the Seattle Times sold 71,000 digital subscriptions – Press Gazette

“People just love to read about bridges and tunnels”, says Frank Blethen, CEO and publisher of the Seattle Times, a local outlet that since 2017 has found great success with its editorial project Traffic Lab, that investigates Seattle’s transport infrastructure.

“People really want to know about what the public agencies are doing, why is traffic so bad, why [authorities are] raising the gas tax. So those are examples where we know that the whole community, or very significant portions of the community, are very connected with this content.”

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4. The benefits of letting an AI take charge of the paywall – What’s New in Publishing

Canadian The Globe and Mail has been using an AI-system called Sophi since 2012 to estimate expected advertising revenue and the expected subscription revenue for every article published – to decide which articles to paywall. The result has been increased subscription conversion, registration, loyalty and engagement

“Sophi [The Paywall] revealed to us that our readers saw the value in many articles that we published, value that our editors had not recognised because no human being can possibly stay on top of every single article that we publish and get the math right every time.”

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