Week of Sept. 28th-Oct. 4th: Your Media News Update

Over the last few days, industry experts have been buzzing about some interesting media news topics:

  • Registration walls and opinion editorials are enabling publishers to drive higher traffic and capture more data
  • As a way to get around ad-blocking, companies are shifting their focus towards creating higher-quality content that’s supported by ads on their own platforms
  • Publishers are developing creative strategies to continue reaching and engaging with the coveted millennial audience

The list goes on. To stay up to date with the latest and greatest news hits of the past week, take a peek at the trending topics below.

Refocusing on Subscription Revenue Brings Publishers Back to Basics

Subscriptions have become the talk of the media and publishing industry as a more sustainable source of revenue versus digital ad revenue. With market and political conditions awry due to the escalating trade war, many business publishers are seeing a natural increase in subscriptions as readers seek to stay up to date on stock market activities.

However, many organizations are still struggling with increasing their subscription base. Looking deeper into the challenge, the issue may lie in the misalignment of organizational goals and resource allocation. 

According to FIPP’s 2019 Global Digital Subscription Snapshot Report, an overwhelming 75% of publishing execs say they currently spend less than a quarter of resources on subscription efforts.  

However, that’s all changing as more and more media and publishers undergo organizational restructuring. Many publishers are revealing their plans to go back to and enhance their registration walls, which have the potential to drive subscriber conversion rates 10x higher for known users. 

Publishers are also using their first-party data to learn about the types of content readers are willing to provide personal information for, and correlate that back to what they’re willing to pay for to read. The New York Times, Hearst Newspapers and GateHouse Media are just a few examples of those who have started using or updating their registration walls over the past few months. 

Opinion journalism is also coming back in vogue, which has proven to be a lead traffic driver to publisher content. 

In order to achieve revenue targets, shifting to a digital subscription revenue model has become key for media organizations. Publishers are also paying more attention to gathering metrics on how users are interacting with one another around content on their own platforms. With this data, they’re able to fine-tune editorial and subscription strategies around audience behavior. 

Content is Still King and Key to an Optimal Consumer Experience

Several subtle but significant shifts were noted this week in discussions about the future of the news media among industry leaders who gathered for the International News Media Associations’ (INMA) Reader Revenue Symposium. The event focused on how to address a broader mix of income streams than just charging readers for access to content.

Publishers are still all about content, but now in the context of services, experiences and relationships rather than simply selling subscriptions and products. Many recognize that there will be major consumer demand for free services as well as experiences with no or fewer ads. The industry is going to start seeing publishers offering free streaming and accessible content that is ad-supported.

Starting now, publishers will try to diversify the way that they not only reach an audience but how they follow through in monetizing it.

Publishers Get Creative in Finding New Ways to Reach and Engage Millennial Audiences

As the majority of traditional news consumers belong to an aging demographic, publishers know they need to find new ways to reach the younger generations. And that’s only the first step. Once they’ve been reached, the biggest challenge is actually following through in delivering engaging content that will appeal to them and keep them coming back for more. But what are the habits of young people when it comes to news consumption?

The role of news for Gen Z and Gen Y is tricky business because research shows it needs to be highly personal rather than characterized by broad generalizations. According to a new report from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, adults aged 18-35 view the news from the perspective of what it can do for them as individuals rather than for society as a whole. 

Overall, these younger generations find value in the news that progresses personal development and increases enjoyment or awareness in topics that are relevant to them.

As an example, BBC Global News has recognized this trend and is responding by launching more verticals and sub-brands outside of its regular news cycle. The company states that 62% of its audience across platforms are millennials between 25 and 35 years old. 

The goal is to grow its international audience and drive more advertising revenue by covering topics that are important to younger generations, such as sustainability and environmental issues. 

Friday Fun Fact

Journalists, take note: Merriam-Webster has just added another 533 words and definitions to its dictionary.  New words include ‘dad joke,’ ‘fatberg,’ ‘sesh’ and ‘inspo.’ But the dictionary, which is updated twice a year, has drawn much attention due to its decision to recognize “they/them” as gender-identifying pronouns.

“If we see that a term is used frequently, then it’s going to get into the dictionary,” said Peter Sokolowski, a Merriam-Webster lexicographer.

The fact that the oldest dictionary publisher in the United States has added its interpretation of this pronoun is a reflection of changing times. After all, the dictionary is a window into society’s current use and expression of language.


For a more recent media news update, click here.

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