Here’s how Google is thinking about surfacing paywalled news organizations in search

Hey, Google — how do we solve the news industry’s various revenue problems? Google gave a preview of some features it’s been working on and thinking about regarding its support for subscription news organizations at its Digital News Initiative Summit on Thursday (on the same day it also rolled out a built-in adblocker in its Chrome browsers). The search platform and digital advertising giant also announced that it would be opening its fifth round of DNI funding at the end of this month; the theme of the upcoming round will be diversifying revenue models. Most relevant for the increasing number of news publishers focusing on getting readers to pay for subscriptions is how Google intends to treat publishers with paywalls. It’s already ended the longtime first-click-free loophole and has been working with a couple of major subscription news publishers on potential tools for publishers over the past year. Now Continue reading "Here’s how Google is thinking about surfacing paywalled news organizations in search"

GroundSource switched from an email newsletter to a SMS newsletter and actually got responses

Want to connect with and update audience. Spend time perfecting email newsletter. Ask subscribers for responses. Receive zero responses. Sound familiar? This is the trap into which GroundSource, a platform known for its messaging-based engagement tools (now also offered to newsrooms as part of the Community Listening and Engagement Fund), recently fell with its email newsletter (GroundSourced). So they launched an SMS newsletter instead. Their prompts within the email newsletter had been pleasant: “This newsletter is all about helping you better engage your community. Each week, we’ll share news, tips, and answers to questions you ask. Let us know your engagement questions by replying to this email. We’ll find a solution and share it with you and 1,500+ GroundSourced subscribers.” But nobody was taking them up on the offer. “It’s been a thing on the to-do list to restart the email newsletter, and we wanted to make
Continue reading "GroundSource switched from an email newsletter to a SMS newsletter and actually got responses"

$2.31/week: That’s about what you’ll pay for a digital newspaper subscription these days

It doesn’t really matter where you live or how large your local newspaper’s circulation is: The average price for a digital newspaper subscription is $2.31 per week, according to a new report from the American Press Institute. API research fellow Tracy M. Cook looked at pricing of digital subscriptions to 100 newspapers across the U.S. in October 2017. The median price across the papers: $2.31 per week, or about $10 per month or $120 per year. (That’s actually down slightly from a 2016 API report that pegged the average weekly price of a digital newspaper subscription at $3.11 per week, across 77 papers. For this new data set, the average price was $2.44/week. The median price excludes special introductory offers, as well as bundles like The Washington Post’s partnerships with Amazon and Hulu and The New York Times’ with Spotify. Cook also notes that digital
Continue reading "$2.31/week: That’s about what you’ll pay for a digital newspaper subscription these days"

Google Chrome’s built-in ad blocker goes live tomorrow. Here’s how it will work for users (and affect publishers)

Here’s something that will either scare or soothe anyone concerned with the future of digital advertising and the web: Starting tomorrow, Google, the largest advertising company in the world, will take an active role in deciding which ads people will see while using Chrome. On Thursday, Google plans to release a new Chrome update that will introduce a built-in ad blocker for the browser. The feature, whose existence was first reported last April, will automatically block ads that don’t conform to the Better Ads Standards from Coalition for Better Ads, as Chrome Web Platform product manager Ryan Schoen explained to TechCrunch. On desktop, these include popups, autoplay, sound-on videos, and “prestitial ads with countdown,” a format that, for most, has become synonymous with Forbes.com. The mobile version of Chrome will target those same ad formats, along with flashing animated ads, full-screen scrollover ads, and ads that take up
Continue reading "Google Chrome’s built-in ad blocker goes live tomorrow. Here’s how it will work for users (and affect publishers)"

Snap brings its heat map feature out of the app. Will any news publishers want to use it?

Snap — née Snapchat — first rolled out its heat map feature last June. The map algorithmically surfaced Snap stories around events like sports and concerts; Snap editorial staff also curated stories around other events, from New York Fashion Week to real-time coverage of unfolding tragedies like last fall’s Las Vegas mass shooting and the Manhattan terrorist attack. Now the map is available to anyone on the wider web. Publishers can embed the Snap stories into articles, as they might a tweet or Facebook post. Here’s a curated collection around Sunday’s explosion and fire at an electric station, and subsequent blackouts, in Puerto Continue reading "Snap brings its heat map feature out of the app. Will any news publishers want to use it?"

Local TV news gets a $2.6 million boost from the Knight Foundation

In the “future of news” conversations, television news — especially local — can sometimes be overlooked. But it’s still a vital source of journalism for communities across the United States. The Knight Foundation announced today that it is boosting local TV news with $2.6 million across five organizations that will help students of color gain experience in local TV markets, bring together broadcast journalists focused on digital innovation in conferences and workshops, and offer ethics, leadership, and data journalism training for newsrooms. (Disclosure: Nieman Lab also receives support from Knight.) Though digital sources are ever rising, local TV news still reaches a significant chunk of Americans. Last year, Pew Research Center found that 50 percent were often getting news from TV compared to 43 percent often getting it online, though local TV news use declined the most. Over the years, local TV news’ audience has steadily Continue reading "Local TV news gets a $2.6 million boost from the Knight Foundation"

A new report offers a primer (and a reality check) on the news membership model

News organizations across the board have largely embraced the notion that the future of digital news will be lighter on advertising and heavier on subscriptions and other forms of reader support. Less clear, though, is what that ideal audience revenue model will look like, and, for the organizations that currently lack one, the best route to make the business shift happen. A new report from from Elizabeth Hansen at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and Emily Goligoski at the Membership Puzzle Project offers more clarity. A product of hundreds of conversations with newsroom managers, reporters, and even members themselves, the 121-page report offers a lot of insight into what makes an effective reader revenue model work, and a framework for how news organizations can implement their own. The report was written to give news organizations a clearer picture of “the limitations and sheer amount of effort that goes into Continue reading "A new report offers a primer (and a reality check) on the news membership model"