This week in Subscription Publishing:
- News publishers are expecting a more “normal” news year in 2022, which may free up bandwidth to focus on product and content improvements, but comes with a potential downside if audiences see less need to pay for access to content.
- Axios is gearing up to launch a handful of vertical newsletters for its forthcoming “Pro” subscription product.
A more “normal” news year in 2022 could slow subscription growth
It’s been an eventful six years, which has — among other things — been helpful for news publishers looking to build out their subscription products and revenues. But heading into 2022, publishers and media companies say they are preparing for a more “normal” year, as demand for ongoing coverage of global politics and the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
A little downtime might offer some publishers a chance to unpack the lessons the past six years and to focus on new ways to create value for their audiences, but the prospect also has those with subscription products a little nervous. A broad decline in overall traffic to news sites has already dented their ability to attract and retain paying subscribers in the second half of 2021, and that trend looks set to continue into next year.
News publishers hoping their recent subscription growth trajectories to continue into 2022 and beyond should manage their expectations, particularly as competition for subscriber dollars continues to heat up, and consumers become increasingly discerning about what they pay for and why.
Axios is staffing up for its upcoming “Pro” subscription product
Axios is hiring reporters to launch a range of subscriber-only newsletters as part of its upcoming Axios Pro paid subscription product. This week it announced an upcoming fintech newsletter will be co-authored by former TechCrunch and Fortune writers Ryan Lawler and Lucinda Shen, and it’s also hiring for similar subscriber-only newsletters covering media, retail and healthtech.
Publishers across the board are now leaning heavily on newsletters to add value to their subscription products as competition for reader dollars heats up. Some are poaching journalists from competitors, while others have focused on acqui-hiring independent writers and their newsletters and folding them into their existing content mixes.
Other noteable Reads:
- Industry Dive CEO Sean Griffey unpacked the company’s road to $100 million in revenue and over 20 industry-specific publications on The Rebooting Show podcast.
- FT Strategies put together a report and a handful of case studies on how news publishers can experiment with their products more effectively, based on its work with Subscriptions Lab Europe.
- Publishers adding new subscription cancellation methods in response to new FTC guidance will need to tread carefully to manage the impact they might have on their businesses.
For more practical guidance on building sustainable subscription and membership products and businesses, see the Subscription Publishing Toolkit.