At least one writer generates $1 million a year on Substack
But how many are pulling down a solid middle class income?
Welcome! I'm Simon Owens and this is my media newsletter. You can subscribe by clicking on this handy little button:
Hey folks! Quick programming note: I'm looking for some interesting creators to write about in the coming months. Media entrepreneurs, newsletter writers, web comic artists, podcasters, YouTubers.
I’m looking for people who have built sustainable businesses. Who do you think I should be looking at? Shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Ok, on to today’s newsletter..
How Rich Miller built a thriving media company focused on the data center industry
If you had to make a list of technologies that are most important to the average person’s day-to-day life, data centers would sit near the top of that list. Rich Miller recognized their importance early on and built a media company to cover them. [Simon Owens]
It's B2B media's moment
The 2010s were the years of B2C media, with all the emphasis focused on digital upstarts like BuzzFeed, Vice, Vox, Mashable, Mic, etc...
During the 2020s we're going to see a whole lot more investment and hype around B2B media. [The Media Nut]
Newsletters are the real minimum viable product
A lot of media startups will launch on platforms like Substack, and then, once they've reached a sufficient level of maturity, move on to more robust publishing platforms that allow for greater flexibility.
There are already some examples of this. The Discourse Blog, for instance, moved off Substack in partnership with an agency that I profiled on this newsletter. I’ve also spoken to plenty of successful Substack writers who are talking about moving to Ghost and other platforms. [Medialyte]
Heather Cox Richardson Offers a Break From the Media Maelstrom. It’s Working.
There's at least one Substack writer who's single-handedly generating over $1 million a year on the platform. Needless to say, very few writers in the world take home that kind of pay, even those who write for top tier media outlets.
A book writer would have to sell over 500,000 copies a year to pull down $1 million. I doubt the top tier columnists at The New York Times or Washington Post make that much. [NYT]
Cameo launches hiring spree following banner year
Cameo "brought in roughly $100 million in video transactions ... In 2020, it sold 1.3 million Cameo videos." [Axios]
The “creator economy” is becoming massive. Substack and Medium each generated something like $24 million for writers in 2020. Patreon paid out over $1 billion. OnlyFans brought in something like $4 billion. And those are just the paid platforms. Add in all the advertising and sponsorship across YouTube, Instagram, and elsewhere, and we’re talking about a market somewhere north of $10 billion.
I’m one of those indie creators
And unlike some, I don’t sell advertising or sponsorships. I monetize this newsletter entirely through paid subscriptions. If you value the work I do here and think it’s helping you in your career, consider becoming a paid subscriber. Not only will you be supporting my work, but you’ll gain access to case study interviews that are only available to subscribers. Subscribe at the link below and get 10% off for your first year:
Trump’s presidency is ending. Is the reign of Newsmax and OAN just beginning?
"Newsmax TV topped out around 50,000 viewers throughout the six years since its founding in 2014. After the election, that number jumped to a record 1.1 million." [Nieman Lab]
Fox News dominated the cable news ratings for over a decade. The rise of these far right networks is really bad for Fox because they’re almost solely eating into its audience, with CNN and MSBNC’s audiences remaining untouched. That means Fox will likely struggle in the ratings wars over the next four years, which is especially bad for it considering it’s lost a lot of advertisers and so many Americans are cutting the cable cord, which eats into the network’s carriage fees. It’s only a matter of time before these trends severely impact the company’s bottom line.
Newsletter internships = the new foot in the door?
"If I were starting out in media right now in 2021 (or graduating from J-school this spring), I would probably be looking at this growing class of newsletter jobs and betting on them as a more realistic way to get a foot in the door." [Deez Links]
I’ve always been extremely skeptical of internships as a concept. Yes, they can provide an avenue for young people to gain crucial experience, but they’re also ripe for labor exploitation. I’m generally in favor of paid internships, but I think the universe of newsletters that can afford to pay interns is relatively small right now.
Know what’s even better than a newsletter internship?
My private Facebook group. It has nearly 400 members. I only promote it in this newsletter, so it’s full of media executives and entrepreneurs, and we get up to some pretty interesting conversation about the media industry. You can join here: [Facebook]
Despite pandemic, 60 new print magazines launched in 2020
"The average cover price of a new [magazine] launch in 2020 was $7.99, compared to an average cover price of under $5 for most established magazines." [NY Post]
I don't know much about the economics of print publishing, but it seems like they're pricing these magazines as essentially paperback books.
The Rise of the Messy Advice Column
Apparently advice columns are having a moment right now, to the point that more and more publishers are launching them as part of their audience development strategies. [Study Hall]
Help me grow this newsletter
So much of this newsletter’s growth is dependent on people sharing it with their colleagues. Recommending it on social media takes only a few moments and yet plays such a vital role in helping me build a sustainable business.
Here, I’ll even provide you some language you can copy and paste:
I've really been enjoying @simonowens' media newsletter. If you work in the industry and aren’t subscribed, then you’re missing out.
Thank you in advance!