Slate expects almost half of its revenue to come from podcasts

Headphones on a baby, by Gideon Tsang, from Flickr

The top story in the newsletter today reminds me how reader revenue, whether that be through subscriptions or memberships, is remaking media. Digiday is reporting that Slate expects nearly half of its revenue to come from podcasts, but the thing that stands out is Slate sees this as supporting their subscription model, Slate Plus. They aren’t looking for syndication deals. It’s all about building a loyal, paying audience on their own platform. How times have changed. From Digiday:

But where some of the newer scripted podcast producers are eyeing the big checks that platforms such as Luminary are writing, Slate sees them as a way to build its own business. Kammerer said that while Slate has had discussions with podcast platforms about licensing or producing exclusive shows for platforms, it has declined to pursue them because it is more interested in using its shows to build Slate Plus.

Slate expects nearly half of its revenue will come from podcasts this year, by Max Willens, Digiday

And I also want to highlight Reach PLC (formerly Trinity-Mirror and also a former client of my consultancy, Ship’s Wheel Media) and their efforts to try to bring some comity to the discussions around Brexit with their Britain Talks project. Their efforts to engage audiences, not only with their journalism but also in broader issues, really impresses me, and I appreciate more than most the challenging business environment that they are operating in.

As always, if you have a media business story that you think I should highlight in the newsletter, let me know on Twitter @kevglobal. And you can subscribe to the newsletter here.

10 Journalism Newsletters You Should Subscribe to, Make that 11

Pamphleteer, WikiMedia Commons

I’m closing out this week in a totally meta way in my newsletter: 10 other journalism newsletters that you should check out, well, apart from mine.

But I also want to start something and post the top five stories based on what you have been clicking through to in my newsletter.

  1. Like most media, podcasting is pivoting to paid (with complications)
    From Max Willens, Digiday
  2. 7 reasons a freelance journalist should start a podcast, by my friend
    Suchandrika Chakrabarti, on Muck Rack
  3. Why platforms like Facebook and Apple struggle to boost local news | What’s New in Publishing | Digital Publishing News, a great piece by Simon Owens, on What’s News in Publishing, where I also have been known to write.
  4. The Telegraph’s roadmap to 1m paying subscribers and financial sustainability, by Ian Burrell in The Drum
  5. How publishers are using Snapchat’s curated stories tool for breaking news and more, by Kerry Flynn, in Digiday

I hope that you have a great weekend, and remember, if you have any good stories that I should include in the newsletter, let me know @kevglobal on Twitter.

Duct Tape and Spit: The pivot to paid content highlights publishers’ ad hoc tech stack

Duct tape moving van, U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

As someone who has cobbled together a lot of third party tools and down-right messy kludges to do something editorially on a tight deadline, I resemble the criticism in the top story in my newsletter today.

It was and still is very satisfying to use a third-party service, WordPress plug-in or some weird template you found on a random site to deliver something digitally interesting, but there are costs to taking shortcuts like this. And this is becoming obvious as strategies shift from ad-focused to reader revenue-led.

But here is the rub: To properly implement some of these systems takes a lot of cash, cash which small and medium publishers simply don’t have. From the article in Digiday:

Google’s and Facebook’s subscription products also remain too cumbersome for small or midsize publishers. One year after launching Subscribe with Google with 17 publisher partners, around four dozen publishers have begun integrating the product into their operations, but fewer than 20 have fully implemented it.

In pivoting to paid, publishers run into tech headaches, by Max Willens, Digiday

Also today, we look at other ways that content publishers are trying to find a path to sustainability, whether that is through paid content for podcasters, foundation support for local journalism or content marketing for businesses and brands. Here’s just a sample:

How to stop being a ‘carrier’ in the age of misinformation. The agenda of a free press? A functioning democracy. Buzzy, premium podcast service stumbles out of the gates. Seattle newspaper partners with local foundation for funding.

If you spot a good story about the business of media, especially digital, feel free to send it to me @kevglobal on Twitter. If you don’t get my international media newsletter in your inbox, you can get a taste of it and subscribe here