Digital Publishing
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The must-read publishing stories you may have missed this week

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Publishers experiment driving subscriptions via WhatsApp, Facebook explores paying publishers for a ‘high quality news’ tab, and more

Splashing the cash for new subscribers

One of the stand-out figures from Damian Radcliffe’s 10 essential media stats from March was that The Economist spent £50 million ($65.2m) on marketing in 2018.

Their annual report told a familiar story; that print ad revenue continues to decline, whilst digital advertising fails to plug the gap. Yet the chart showing how subscriptions revenue has far outstripped the ad decline should be the highlight this week.

It’s an increase in marketing spend which has helped the publisher bring their total subscribers to just over 1.1 million, with an 18% increase in new subscribers.

“This investment in marketing is the cornerstone of our strategy of putting the reader at the heart of our business,” the report states, seeing every penny as an investment in “the most scalable business opportunity we have: subscription-based circulation revenues.”


What’s new this week

Publisher drives 400K subscriptions and 5M page views via Whatsapp

Publishers in countries like Zimbabwe and India have been experimenting with ‘broadcast lists’, newsgroups, quizzes, and audio notes on Whatsapp. 

Facebook to pay publishers for hosting ‘high-quality’ content, on a dedicated news tab
Zuckerberg has mentioned that he’s thinking about creating a dedicated tab for news on Facebook, featuring “high-quality, trustworthy content.” 
10 essential media stats from March 2019
The Economist’s marketing budget, new services from Apple and Google, the impact of Facebook’s algorithm change, voice’s lack of killer app and fresh data on social media in the U.S.
Why Apple News+ won’t cannibalize publishers’ paid subscriptions
The attacks launched against Apple News Plus are overblown, and this newly-launched version of the app will likely have a net positive effect for many of the participating publishers.
What You Missed at WAN IFRA’S Digital Subscription Summit
Last week our team attended the sold out Digital Subscription Summit from WAN IFRA in Paris. For those who missed this event, here are the main insights from the day.
Readly MD Ranj Begley on what makes a magazine app a success
Readly MD Ranj Begley takes us through how the magazine app approaches its publisher partnerships, how reader data informs everything from cover choice to exclusive content, and more.
Slow journalism as an antidote to the “cacophony of white noise”
In recent years, the term “slow journalism” has acquired fresh prominence with several new publishers like Tortoise, dedicated exclusively to slow journalism, setting up shop.
Vote in favour of EU Copyright Directive widely welcomed
Publishers and media associations were unanimous in welcoming the European Parliament’s vote in favour of the European Union Copyright Directive.
Do the basics well or no one’s going to care: This and other insights from Berlin publishers
We asked the Berlin publishing community for their best practices with regards to audience development and revenue streams.
National Journal moves away from advertising revenue completely
Advertising, which provided 1.4 % of overall revenue, steadily became less of a focus, while NJ had been simultaneously and aggressively growing other revenue streams. 
Explosive news story from a deepfake “a matter of time”: Publishers gear up
Artificial intelligence is being used to create a new breed of highly realistic fake videos called deepfakes.
UK: Programmatic ads outperform direct buys for the first time
The latest Integral Ad Science Media Quality Report provides UK benchmarks for viewability, brand safety, and ad fraud across all digital environments and channels.