Publishers: Understanding the alternatives in electronic mail newsletters | What’s New in Publishing


This 12 months, for the primary time in its 10-year historical past, The Digital Information Report (DNR) from the Reuters Institute for the Research of Journalism encompasses a full chapter exploring the alternatives in electronic mail newsletters.

Setting out the explanations for devoting a whole part of the report back to information consumption by electronic mail, lead creator Nic Newman mentioned it was about understanding the methods this ‘low-tech and infrequently retro medium’ can help sustainable journalism.


DNR 2022 devoted a full chapter to understanding electronic mail newsletters, from income alternatives to the function it performs in engagement.

  • Electronic mail is just not the primary entry level for many worldwide information audiences; within the UK simply 9% of customers surveyed use newsletters or electronic mail alerts. However that share rises dramatically to 22% within the US, with virtually half of that group saying it’s their primary approach of accessing digital information. 
  • Electronic mail audiences are additionally older, higher off and well-educated. One in seven survey respondents over the age of 55 within the US mentioned that electronic mail was their primary approach of accessing information. The overwhelming majority (80%) of people that use electronic mail to learn information are over the age of 35.
  • Throughout 10 of the international locations lined within the electronic mail chapter for DNR 2022, a mean of 65% of these surveyed mentioned they worth electronic mail newsletters due to their comfort. This consists of the opt-in management provided by electronic mail in addition to the time-saving facets in curated codecs. One survey respondent mentioned:

I take pleasure in receiving headlines in emails. I can learn the article, or skip it, and use key phrases for extra analysis on the subject.

Electronic mail insights

Writing for Media Voices, Esther Kezia Thorpe lists a number of key insights into electronic mail alternatives highlighted by the DNR 2022 analysis.

Potential for progress

Fairly than reaching ‘peak publication’, the DNR 2022 spotlights the chances for publishers in increasing their electronic mail output. Within the nation with the very best fee of electronic mail information readers – Austria – simply 24% of respondents usually learn information on electronic mail. The typical throughout all markets is lower than 20%. With virtually everybody having an electronic mail tackle, the potential for progress is clear.

Publishers nonetheless dominate 

The rise of Substack has seen the variety of high-profile journalists leaving main publishers to arrange their very own electronic mail newsletters rise exponentially. With all of the hype that has accompanied every resignation, it will be simple to conclude solo operators dominate the publication house. Nevertheless, DNR 2022 spotlights the continued dominance of mainstream publishers. Throughout ten chosen international locations, over half (53%) of those that get information emails get them from mainstream media organisations.

Persona performs

Regardless of the robust place held by mainstream publishers, the report discovered a big overlap between folks studying emails from mainstream media organisations and particular person journalists. Nic Newman mentioned:

This means that various and journalist-led emails, which regularly communicate to smaller and extra specialist audiences, are sometimes used as a complement to basic information emails – reasonably than a alternative.

Funds are sluggish to take off

Paid newsletters are nonetheless not a significant income driver for publishers. As an alternative the format has been used primarily to foster loyalty amongst audiences and drive visitors to subscriber gives or ad-funded net pages.

The place publishers do supply paid electronic mail merchandise they’re typically a part of a wider subscription proposition. The DNR discovered that 7% of these paying for on-line information within the US, the best-developed publication market, subscribe to an email-led information product from a person journalist.

This piece was initially revealed in Spiny Developments and is re-published with permission. Spiny Developments delivers updates and evaluation on the business information you might want to keep on high of should you’re working a media and publishing enterprise. Subscribe to a weekly electronic mail roundup right here.


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