Chartbeat’s 2019 lessons for publishers who want more subscribers

On target, by, from Flickr, Some Rights Reserved

Occasionally there is an article that really stands out from all of the other media business intelligence, and today, the top story in my media newsletter today is one to bookmark. Nancy Lee, a senior product manager with Chartbeat, summarises 400 hours of research the analytics company did on subscriptions.

There is so much in this post and so many times that I was agreeing violently, but I’ll just highlight some of the points that really stood out for me.

  • Publishers’ infrastructure is still focused on advertising-led businesses and have not kept pace with the shift to reader revenue.
  • Email is still a neglected and overlooked channel for many publishers. “The energy behind email’s return is that it remains the most cost efficient way to test conversion and retention strategies. There’s little risk and plenty of reward for readers to opt-in to newsletters and other distribution lists.”
  • The point that really leapt out at me was how editorial thinking and content strategy are now being married to product thinking. And they touch on the cultural issues that can arise in that shift in thinking. That’s an entire article on its own.

This post is a great conversation starter, and it’s so economical in its communication. I will definitely be using it when we have some of these conversations in my shop.

As always, if you’re not a subscriber to the newsletter yet, click on over to my Nuzzel profile page. And if you have a story that you think should be on the site, let me know on Twitter, @kevglobal.

The Washington Post Believes its Publishing Platform is a $100m Business

The Washington Post / iPad by Esther Vargas, Flickr

It really is international in my media newsletter today with stories Ireland’s INM being bought by Belgian media house Mediahuis and Nine in Oz selling off a chunk of Fairfax’s old local newspaper empire.

But the top story today is about how the Washington Post thinks that Arc, its publishing platform, is a $100 m revenue generator. That’s pretty amazing when you think of how much usually gets spent on content management systems so thinking of content management as a revenue generator rather than a cost centre.

I just started the Knight Centre’s Product Management for Newsroom Leaders course so products and managing them are at the forefront of my mind so it probably isn’t a surprise that this quote from Shailesh Prakash, the Washington Post’s Chief Information Officer and Chief Product Officer, jumped out at me:

In the beginning, it was quite confusing because we spent a great deal of time trying to define what a product is. We asked ourselves questions such as, “Who is the owner of the homepage?” However, I believe those types of questions are irrelevant because the key to successful product development is to partner with the Sales, Engineering, and News teams to come up with products that delight our readers, advertisers, or subscribers. In the best case, we are delighting all three of them.

How The Washington Post Made Its Publishing Platform A Revenue Driver, by Peter High, Forbes contributor

Developing products that delight all of our key constituents. That’s a pretty great goal.

If you’ve got a story that you think I should put in the newsletter, especially from outside of the US, @ me on Twitter @kevglobal. And if you aren’t a subscriber, you can get this everyday in your inbox by signing up here.