Hunting for reader revenue, Scroll sets up shop for 2019 with more publishers and $10 million raised

With new publishing partners and $7 million more in funding, the TSA-Pre✓-for-Internet-news-consumption startup Scroll — led by former executives of Chartbeat, Spotify, and Foursquare — plans to unfurl in 2019’s first quarter. Ken Doctor characterized Scroll this way last fall, when the startup was one year in: “Talk to people in the news industry about what they think of his new startup Scroll, and they hesitate. They may stumble describing its model. They’ll say it’s something they’re watching. And then they’ll tell you if Tony Haile is behind it, they expect to see something impressive.” So, no pressure — but the team is getting closer to delivering. The bet Haile, Chartbeat’s founding CEO, is making with Scroll is that he can convince online news readers — both subscribers and non-subscribers — to pay $5 a month for a substantially better, ad-free user experience on the news sites they Continue reading "Hunting for reader revenue, Scroll sets up shop for 2019 with more publishers and $10 million raised"

The Outline built itself on being “weird.” But is it weird enough to survive?

There are some sites that everyone roots for. Scrappy, beloved. See: The Awl. The Toast. Or not so scrappy, but beloved still. See: Grantland. When they shut down, people mourn them. Then there’s The Outline. In April 2016, Joshua Topolsky wrote a Medium post entitled “Your media business will not be saved.” Topolsky, the cofounder of The Verge, had left his position as Bloomberg’s top digital editor several months before. “Your problem,” he told his fellow media people, “is that you make shit”:
A lot of shit. Cheap shit. And no one cares about you or your cheap shit. And an increasingly aware, connected, and mutable audience is onto your cheap shit. They don’t want your cheap shit. They want the good shit. And they will go to find it somewhere. Hell, they’ll even pay for it. The truth is that the best and most important things the
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Newsonomics: With an expanding Wirecutter, The New York Times is doubling down on diversification

Imagine a world in which Donald Trump is no longer President.       No, really. Okay, if that concept’s beyond your immediate comprehension, let’s make the question a bit more concrete: Imagine what’ll happen to the news business in a world in which Donald Trump is no longer president. Yes, the Trump Bump in digital subscriptions is long gone, replaced by a steadier, lower-key growth rate for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and others. But traffic continues to go through the roof, alongside the nation’s temper. No one has ever seen news days, or news weeks, like this. Like all things, it’s unlikely to last. So the business question: If you ran a news company and could anticipate this future non-Trump time — one in which national attention isn’t riveted to every god-forbid smartphone notification — how might you prepare? You might pay more and more attention Continue reading "Newsonomics: With an expanding Wirecutter, The New York Times is doubling down on diversification"

AM/FM radio holds strong for American listeners

While local TV news still barely beats the internet as the top source of news for Americans (no, really), viewership and revenue continued to slide in 2017, according to Pew’s latest local TV news fact sheet. Americans are still drawn to audio content, with high percentages tuning into some kind of radio station (there are only 26 all-news terrestrial radio stations left) and podcast listenership continuing to grow. Local TV news Average audience decreased by 15 percent in 2017 over the previous year, with evening news remaining stable — though late night and early evening declined by seven percent, and midday declined four percent. (The data comes from ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC affiliates.) Partly because it wasn’t an election year (when political advertising bumps up the airwaves’ coffers), total over-the-air ad revenue for local TV decreased by 13 percent, to $17.4 billion. Online, advertising for local Continue reading "AM/FM radio holds strong for American listeners"

European news sites are among the worst offenders when it comes to third-party cookies and content

The forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation on May 25 is pushing publishers to take a hard look at just how dependent their outlets have become on cookies third-party trackers they load on their own sites in order to collect data from their visitors. News sites actually load more third-party content and set more third-party cookies than other top websites, according to a new study of websites across seven European countries from the Reuters Institute. News sites in those countries averaged 40 different third-party domains per page and 81 third-party cookies per page, compared to an average of 10 and 12, respectively, for the group of top websites in those countries. (Among sites that run some kind of advertising, the study found that news sites on average load four times as many third-party domains compared to other top websites.) U.K. news sites were, on average, the most bloated of
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Jason Kint: Here are 5 ways Facebook violates consumer expectations to maximize its profits

As the Facebook scandal continues to snowball, COO Sheryl Sandberg and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have finally admitted publicly they have a lot of work to do to restore trust in, and combat abuse of, their platform. Those are facts supported by independent research from Edelman. Trust is a result of delivering on expectations, whether the customer is another business or the public. Facebook and Google, more than any other two companies, have controlled and influenced the trust issues now being surfaced across our industry which impact the publishers and advertisers who choose to associate with their platforms. In 2014, I wrote about Facebook’s questionable practices in The Wall Street Journal, focusing on Facebook’s mining of user’s browsing history. We argued that people do not expect Facebook to track them across the web and within apps in order to target advertising to them. Unfortunately, the backlash was slow to build
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Newsonomics: The Denver Post’s protest should launch a new era of “calling B.S.”

What are we to make of The Denver Post’s “extraordinary display of defiance”? As the paper’s editorial board, led by Chuck Plunkett, fired a fusillade of public protest on Sunday — publishing six pages decrying the paper’s owner, to the social congratulations of the news world — we may have reached a new point in local American journalism’s descent into oblivion. Despite almost a decade of newsroom cuts, which have left no more 25,000 journalists in the more than 1,300 dailies across the country, journalists have been remarkably accepting of their buyouts and layoffs. We haven’t seen the kinds of mass strikes or work actions that have happened from time to time in Europe. We’ve seen instead an acquiescence to what’s been seen as the inevitable toll of digital disruption. Sadness, rather than spirited action, has marked the trade. That’s understandable, in part: No one wants to risk the lifeline Continue reading "Newsonomics: The Denver Post’s protest should launch a new era of “calling B.S.”"