50 methods to make media pay: Content material | What’s New in Publishing


That is an excerpt from our free-to-download report, 50 Methods To Make Media Pay

1. Partnerships with platforms

Given the facility of platforms as go-to content material sources for a lot of audiences, it’s no shock that many publishers have sought to harness the attain (and pockets) of those tech titans as a part of the answer to their income challenges. 

This has taken various types, from advert income splits – relying on who has offered the adverting (e.g. Fb Immediate Articles, Apple Information), by means of to examples of publishers being paid to pilot new providers (resembling Fb Stay) or producing premium content material (or cuts of present materials) which is unique to particular platforms like Snapchat Uncover, Fb Watch, Apple Information Plus.

The French each day newspaper Le Parisien harnessed Fb Watch, and a brand new technique for video on the platform, to develop from 5 million video views per thirty days in 2019 to 50 million in 2021. Revenues additionally grew by greater than 100%, Fb studies (presumably simply on their platform, however that is unclear). 

Picture: Le Parisien on Fb Watch, by way of Fb

Alongside these efforts, publishers have additionally participated in initiatives designed to harness numerous merchandise owned by particular platforms, in addition to innovation challenges (Fb Journalism Challenge, Google Information Initiative) and emergency aid funding in the course of the coronavirus disaster. 

Evaluation by the Tow Heart for Digital Journalism in late-2020 recognized that $816 million had been dedicated to assist publishers and journalism by the Fb-Google duopoly.

Writer-Platform relationships will not be with out their tensions, however they’re a longtime income supply for a lot of publishers and a mutually useful relationship that each side will proceed to want to navigate. 

2. Newsletters

The most recent Digital Information Report (2021) highlights how a number of subscriptions – together with to paid newsletters – have gotten extra frequent in mature markets. Their earlier report confirmed that, on common, digital information shoppers within the U.S. and Germany obtain the information by way of e mail newsletters – or alerts – from 4 totally different organisations every week.

E-mail newsletters could be a key device in decreasing churn amongst subscribers, by selling engagement with different content material, in addition to being editorially useful in their very own proper. 

One position they will play is to remind customers of how useful their wider subscription is. In Japan, the each day newspaper Asahi Shimbun has featured articles in newsletters forward of publication elsewhere. 

Picture: Proportion of paid subscribers and non-payers that accessed information by way of e mail within the final week, by way of Reuters Institute for the Examine of Journalism

Newsletters additionally provide different monetisation alternatives for publishers. This contains sponsorship, promoting advertisements and making newsletters subscriber-only (e.g. New York Instances, Esquire’s Charles P. Pierce Membership Program).

Particular person journalists and analysts are additionally monetising newsletters on Substack and different platforms, whereas profitable standalone publication manufacturers like Morning Brew and The Skimm are valued as multi-million greenback companies. Insider acquired a majority stake in Morning Brew final yr in a deal that valued the corporate at $75 million.

The analyst Benedict Evans sends a weekly publication protecting cellular, media and tech points to 160,000 subscribers. To encourage subscriptions, premium subscribers obtain the publication two days earlier than subscribers to the free version. Paying shoppers additionally get entry to an unique weekly column. 

Picture: Extract from the free version of Benedict Evans’ publication, exhibiting a preview from the premium version and a name to subscribe.

Ben Thompson, the creator of Stratechery, affords one thing related. Thompson’s knowledgeable tackle the technique and enterprise facet of expertise and media, and the affect of expertise on society, is obtainable by way of a free Weekly Article, whereas subscribers get three Every day Updates per week.

3. Podcasts 

Like newsletters, podcasts are one other previous format having fun with a inventive and monetary renaissance. WARC studies that 37% of Individuals hearken to podcasts every month and each day common consumption is at virtually an hour. Information within the 2020 Digital Information Report, protecting media habits throughout 20 nations, confirmed {that a} third of web customers (31%) hearken to podcasts every month.

In response to IAB’s 2021 U.S. Podcast Promoting Income Examine, advert revenues within the States grew by 19% final yr, with the market anticipated to high $1 billion for the primary time in 2021. Its worth is anticipated to develop to $2 billion by 2023. Pre-pandemic predictions from WARC advised that world audio promoting spend on podcasts will attain $1.6 billion by 2022, as revenues for the medium grew quickly. 

Picture: Podcast advert spend, globally 2013-2022, by way of WARC and What’s New In Publishing

Podcasts are a sexy format that provides a vary of promoting alternatives, in addition to restricted spots, making for a comparatively unique medium. Maybe surprisingly, within the U.S. mid-roll spot placements account for three-quarters (76%) of revenues.

Alongside harnessing promoting networks and platforms like Acast and Libysn – which might promote and insert advertisements on behalf of content material creators – entrepreneurs and advertisers can even faucet into alternatives for sponsorship and dynamically inserted advertisements, a apply which locations advertisements on the level of listener obtain. 

Recorded advertisements (Mailchimp, Squarespace et al) and presenter reads – a technique which exhibits like Pod Save America typically use to characteristic trackable podcast promo codes – provide additional flexibility for publishers and advertisers alike. 

Publishers can additional use podcasts as a gateway to wider subscriptions, or as a strategy to reward subscribers. Slate Plus, Slate’s membership programme, for instance, affords each bonus podcasts and an ad-free listening expertise for its members.

In the meantime, the launch of paid-for podcasts on the medium’s two largest platforms, Apple and Spotify, permits customers to subscribe to particular person exhibits, the most recent in a sequence of improvements for this time-honoured medium. 

Picture: How podcast subscriptions on Spotify work, by way of Spotify

4. Obituaries

The transfer to digital has created new income alternatives round obituaries, a former content material staple at each native and nationwide newspapers. Though some digital suppliers provide obituaries totally free as a service to their neighborhood, others discover it a useful earnings supply. 

Picture: Price Card for Obituaries throughout the Bay Space Information Group, by way of their web site (September 2021)

Over 1,200 newspapers within the U.S. accomplice with Legacy.com because the vendor for the obituaries that they publish. Additionally they accomplice with newspapers in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Eire, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The corporate affords different paid providers too, resembling Sympathy Flowers, Memorial Bushes, Sympathy Playing cards and Printed Visitor Books. By 2015, Legacy’s e-commerce income had been rising at greater than 40% a yr for the previous 5 years. 

Its Funeral House Native Highlight programme, launched in July 2013. One early adopter of this service, the Chicago Tribune generated $49,000 of income from 1,983 Funeral House Native Highlight notices on the paper’s obituary pages in 2016. 

Picture: Mock-up of the Funeral House Native Highlight service, by way of Legacy 

5. eBooks

eBooks can serve a number of capabilities for publishers. 

They are often offered as standalone merchandise, just like the Londonist’s e book of London Pub Crawls Quantity 1 and the historical past of the three events London has hosted the Olympics, which can be found to buy – and examine – on Kindle and different platforms. 

Picture by way of Londonist

TechRepublic makes use of eBooks within the type of free PDFs – resembling The way to Guides, hiring guides and white papers exploring {industry} sizzling subjects – for premium subscribers ($299 p.a.). 

eBooks may also be a way to showcase a few of your finest work. 

Like various websites, Prospect requires readers to register on the location to unlock the content material. Nevertheless, this registration does greater than open the paywall, it is usually used to mechanically introduce potential subscribers to different content material, by way of an eBook and publication. 

Picture: Pop-up encouraging registration, by way of Prospect (August 2021)

6. Occasions

Occasions are one other format that continues to supply a plethora of income alternatives for publishers. COVID has taken a number of the shine off this, however the pandemic has additionally inspired publishers to pivot to digital occasions, a mannequin that’s more likely to proceed, even when large-scale in-person occasions return. 

One advantage of online-only, and hybrid occasions, are the bigger audiences they will doubtlessly unlock. That received’t work for everybody, but it surely’s a superb technique for bigger marquee manufacturers, like The Atlantic. Extra country-focussed manufacturers can even efficiently deploy this strategy: Polish-based Outriders hosted a two-night pageant in April 2020 which featured 15 audio system and attracted 40,000 viewers throughout their totally different stay streams. 

Picture: Promotional picture for the 2020 Outriders Festiwal, by way of ​​Outriders Mixer.

Extra usually, occasions provide publishers income alternatives by means of ticket and sponsorship gross sales. There’s an enormous array of potential sorts of occasions that may be organised. Final yr, I recognized – and linked to – 29 of them. 

A few of the hottest examples embody: industry-focused conferences  (Recode), “Concept” festivals (Texas Tribune, Atlantic, New Yorker), native enterprise roundtables (Central Maine Enterprise Breakfast Discussion board, organised by the Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal), in addition to native enterprise showcases (resembling Like A Boss, 1-1 Q&A with native CEOs produced by the Portland Press Herald) and award exhibits ( GeekWire, Technical.ly and Billy Penn).

To this, we are able to additionally add rising codecs resembling audio-only occasions, like Splice Lo-Fi, “a fast, weekly audio check-in,” hosted by the Singapore-based Splice Media. Periods happen on the messaging app Telegram and are then transformed right into a podcast. 

Picture: Promo banner for the Portland Press Herald’s “Like A Boss” sequence, by way of their web site.

Shopper-focused exhibits may also be aligned along with your model. Examples on this house embody ELLE Weekender (style, magnificence, wellness, talks), skilled networking occasions (Marie Claire’s invite-only Energy Journey convention) in addition to marriage ceremony festivals ( Chattanooga Instances Free Press, Brooklyn Based mostly) and social occasions resembling comfortable hours and recreation nights (Metropolis Lab and MinnPost, Geekwire).

Occasions may additionally characteristic subscriber-only classes, or solely be open to subscribers, providing one other plank in writer’s reader income methods. 

Picture: Instance of a web based occasion out there solely to New York Instances subscribers, by way of NYT web site, September 2021

7. eCommerce

eCommerce is a rising space of curiosity for publishers. (And a subject What’s New In Publishing has revealed two free studies on – The Writer’s Information to eCommerce and The Writer’s Information to eCommerce: Case Research – previously few years.)

COVID’s lockdowns and quarantines have sped up each the patron adoption of eCommerce and curiosity amongst publishers in its income potential. 

By 2024, eCommerce will account for $7 trillion in annual income, equaling 25% of the world’s retail gross sales at the moment, WPP’s GroupM predicted final yr. In consequence, eCommerce is “an more and more necessary channel for entrepreneurs in virtually all components of the financial system.”

A December 2020 survey discovered {that a} majority of publishers within the USA (62%) predicted that eCommerce can be of their three largest income sources for Q1 2021—with 36% indicating it will be their main income supply. 

Picture: Projected progress of eCommerce, by way of Group M, December 2020

As with occasions, there are a lot of alternative ways through which publishers can faucet into this client and model spend. This contains efforts resembling on-line programs, retailers and subscription containers in addition to affiliate income

The latter is a longtime mannequin of eCommerce for some publishers, and one that’s rising in recognition for some shops, with one apparent channel for this being by means of the  rise in evaluation websites (e.g. NYT owned Wirecutter, Gannett’s “Reviewed” website and The Impartial’s “Indy Finest”). 

Maybe the obvious exponent of eCommerce’s potential on this house is Future Publishing, which generated almost $1 billion in eCommerce gross sales final yr. The corporate drove 13.6 million retail transitions by means of its portfolio of internet sites in 2020.

At considered one of Future’s titles, Marie Claire UK, eCommerce revenues now account for round 40% of its digital income.

Picture by way of eMarketer 

8. Archives

Unlocking the facility of their archive has lengthy been a monetisation technique for a lot of publishers. As Digiday famous again in 2014, efforts on this house embody resurfacing evergreen content material (e.g. recipes), promoting again points, creating anthologies of previous materials and making components of the archive out there to advertisers. 

Publishers are additionally eager to stress entry to their archives as a key profit that they dangle in entrance of potential subscribers. 

One cause for that is that archive content material could be actually interesting for some readers. 

As Chris Couchman, Head of Content material at Readly – an app providing entry to five,000 magazines from various content material homes – instructed What’s New In Publishing, 20% of their customers eat again points and “there’s an rising demand to return in time and browse historic content material.”

Content material creators are additionally in a position to monetise older non-print content material too, together with podcasts (resembling Ricky Gervais’ XFM exhibits) and pictures. Once more, these could be made out there to each shoppers, in addition to licensed to advertisers and businesses. 

Condé Nast, whose secure contains Vogue, The New Yorker, GQ, Glamour, and Wired, inked a three-year partnership with Shutterstock in 2021, providing an image-rich archive that may be accessed by key verticals like Vogue, Design and Tradition, in addition to by journal title. 

Picture: Screenshot highlighting picture reprints, by way of The Denver Publish, October 2021

9. Paid Analysis

Quite a lot of publishers, resembling Skift, Economist Intelligence Unit and Enterprise Insider Intelligence, provide paid analysis as considered one of their earnings streams. 

This analysis could also be supplied on a report-by-report foundation, in addition to wider packages. For instance, along with their written studies, subscribers to Skift’s analysis additionally obtain reductions to Skift occasions, in addition to an opportunity to speak with Skift’s analysis analysts. 

Picture: Screenshot of the Skift Analysis web site, September 2021

Axel Springer purchased Enterprise Insider for $450 million in 2015 and eMarketer for $250 million in 2016. Their intelligence items had been merged in 2019, earlier than rebranding as a standalone subsidiary beneath the title “Insider Intelligence” in 2020. 

The corporate additionally acquired Politico this summer season, in a deal, value greater than $1 billion. POLITICO Professional, a platform centered on coverage information and evaluation, affords deep-dives into 22 totally different verticals (starting from agriculture to defence, power and tax, in addition to main states resembling California, Florida and New York. Pricing for POLITICO Professional “sometimes begins within the high-four-figure vary,” their web site states

Picture from the homepage for POLITICO Professional, September 2021

Different examples of analysis supplied by publishers embody org charts of tech corporations by The Info (free to subscribers), subscriber-only newsletters focussed on analysis and evaluation (Stratechery and plenty of others), and the flexibility to conduct analysis and evaluation on behalf of purchasers (HBR Analytic Providers an unbiased business analysis unit inside Harvard Enterprise Overview).

10. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding can be utilized for a wide range of totally different functions, from attracting assist for particular tales and sequence, devoted roles and workers enlargement in addition to the launch of complete websites. 

This Land is Your Land, is a bit on The Guardian’s web site specializing in “the threats dealing with public lands within the US and Canada.” After some preliminary tales, a crowdfunding enchantment in mid-2017 designed to increase their protection of this situation raised $114,302. It has subsequently been supported by way of a grant to theguardian.org from the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ), by means of their Fund for Environmental Journalism.

Plant Based mostly Information, which describes itself as “the world’s main award-winning vegan information media & plant-based well being training platform,” is crowdfunding to increase its providing, which at present delivers 70M impressions per thirty days with over 2.4M social media followers. Income elevated 85% year-on-year (February 2020-2021), underpinned by its inside inventive and design company. With 24 days left on its marketing campaign on the time of writing, the crew had already smashed their £500,000 goal, having attracted £891,825 from 211 buyers.

Picture: Screengrab of the Plant-based Information web site, 11 September 2021

Different websites have relied on crowdfunding to get off the bottom, together with Telex – a Hungarian web site, which The Repair feedback “was began by former staff of Index.hu, previously Hungary’s largest unbiased on-line newspaper.” Index collapsed in summer season 2020. 

Previous to launch, greater than 32,000 individuals had already donated, together with Economia – one of many largest Czech media teams – which pledged €200,000. Help additionally got here within the type of extra casual assist from different shops too, together with Helsingin Sanomatm, Finland’s largest newspaper. Their management suggested the Telex crew on appeal to new subscribers and harness totally different digital expertise. 

That is “data it wouldn’t usually share with different media shops,” the Worldwide Press Institute (IPI) notes, additionally sharing how “after they arrange a crowdfunding web page, Telex gathered €1 million in only one month, beneath the hashtag #nehallgassunk – “don’t stay silent”.

Latest evaluation by the Press Gazette has uncovered that “the 30 single-biggest crowdfunded initiatives in journalism have raised $21 million since 2012.” These efforts could be seen throughout the globe, and embody now established media manufacturers like El Español (Spain), De Correspondent (Netherlands) and Tortoise (UK).  

“However pulling off a profitable crowdfunding marketing campaign includes rather more than merely placing your undertaking on a platform like Kickstarter and ready for the cash to roll in,” Press Gazette cautions. Their evaluation means that “lower than 25% of the journalism crowdfunding campaigns proposed on Kickstarter since 2009 have succeeded.” 

Picture: Prime 10 highest funded journalism crowdfunding initiatives, by way of Press Gazette

Initially revealed in What’s New in Publishing earlier this yr. Whereas a number of the information factors could have developed, the evaluation and conclusion stay extremely related.


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