Welcome! I'm Simon Owens and this is my media newsletter. You can subscribe by clicking on this handy little button:
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This YouTuber built a massive following with pop music guitar lessons
David Potsiadlo has a preternatural ability to listen to a song and transpose it for the guitar, and it turns out that thousands of people are willing to pay him to do so. [Simon Owens]
The inside details of Forbes' big newsletter expansion, including how subscription revenue will be split and who owns the IP
Link: [Business Insider]
Business Insider provides some new details on Forbes's new newsletter program. It'll be hiring 20 to 30 full-time writers to launch newsletters, but it'll also make the feature available to some of its Forbes Contributor Network. Everyone gets a 50/50 split of revenue.
I think the magazine should stay relatively selective in terms of who it lets into the newsletter program, at least in its early days. No media company has ever attempted something like this, and if it spreads out subscriptions across too many newsletters at once, then it could end up in a scenario where no individual writer is making all that much money, thereby reducing the incentives for them to stay in the game long enough to start generating real returns.
Know what you won’t be finding on Forbes anytime soon?
The kind of media coverage you find in this newsletter. I’m committed to remaining an independent journalist, but I need your support. Subscribing not only ensures longterm financial sustainability for this newsletter, but it gets you premium case study interviews with the most respected media executives and entrepreneurs working today. Here are a few of the case study interviews I plan to send out over the next few weeks:
This TV podcast generates $4,000 a month on Patreon
How Kent Anderson became a watchdog over the scholarly publishing industry
Inside the career of a successful ghost writer
He got laid off from Yahoo Sports, so he launched his own sports newsletter
Not only do you get fresh interviews in your inbox, but you’ll also get access to an entire library of evergreen case studies I’ve already published. Subscribe at the link below and get 10% off for your first year:
Spotify is paying podcasters tens of thousands of dollars to buoy its own sponsorship tool
Link: [The Verge]
It doesn't entirely surprise me that Anchor isn't generating a ton of ad money for podcasters yet. The podcast ad market is still tiny and it'll take some time for Spotify to grow the pie and lure more brands onto the platform.
For the uninitiated, Anchor is a podcast hosting platform owned by Spotify, and it’s trying to create something akin to the YouTube ecosystem whereby brands can target audio ads so that they’re dynamically inserted into Anchor’s podcast inventory, which includes everything from huge podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience all the way down to tiny niche shows with audiences in the hundreds of listeners.
If I remember correctly, YouTube was super selective early on about which channels it let into its partnership program, and this kept the demand/supply ratio pretty even as advertisers got acclimated to YouTube’s system. Part of the problem for Anchor, I think, is that it opened up the floodgates to all podcasters way too early, and that’s created the perception that Anchor is useless at revenue generation.
The Growth of Streaming Hits Actors and Producers in the Wallet
The economics of streaming TV is making it harder for Hollywood actors and producers to earn residual revenue if their creation ends up being a breakout hit.
Clubhouse: the new frontier for podcasting?
I haven't spent anytime on Clubhouse, but based on what I've read, it could serve as a meeting place for a podcast's hardcore fans, perhaps as some kind of paid subscription tier where the podcaster promises some one-on-one interactions.
Of course, the app is currently invite-only and solely available on iOS, so it’d be hard to build a paid community on a platform that’s closed off to most of your podcast audience.
Want to join my secret Facebook group?
I only promote the group in this newsletter, and now it has over 400 members, most of whom work in media. We have some pretty interesting daily discussions about industry news and insights. Join here. [Facebook]
Tavi Gevinson on Rookie, regrets, and reboots
I've never followed Tavi Gevinson, but I've always considered her a fascinating internet figure, in that she was basically a proto "Instagram influencer" before Instagram even existed.
Why publishers are investing in local media to round out big national stories
I've long thought there was an opportunity for well funded national outlets to launch local verticals. I wouldn't be surprised if The New York Times makes a go at it sometime in the next few years.
How would this work in theory? Imagine if the NYT announced it was hiring 1,000 new journalists, each stationed in a different county somewhere in the U.S. That reporter would cover their local scene, but their coverage would be included in the NYTimes.com bundle, thereby increasing the value proposition for a NYT digital subscription in that county. And as the Times builds out local newsrooms, then perhaps it could also establish ads sales people in those regions to begin selling local ads.
The Times wouldn’t even necessarily have to out-compete other newspapers in that region — just provide enough additive value to increase the conversion rate for paid subscriptions.
Time Spent With Ad-Supported Media Hits All-Time Low, Despite Gains In Total Media Use
Never before in the last 100 years has the average person consumed this much media, yet never before has it been this hard to reach that consumer with advertising.
An update on my promotion experiment
As many of you may remember, in my last issue I tried something a little different in terms of encouraging others to recommend this newsletter. I asked readers to retweet a specific tweet of mine. Here’s the tweet in question.
The response was awesome. It’s already received 19 retweets. It drove 12,000 impressions and close to 300 total engagements. It’s hard to know precisely how many email signups it drove, but signups are already up 470% over last week. So it was pretty effective!
I was especially heartened by those who took a few moments to quote tweet the tweet and say something nice about my newsletter. Thank you so much. It means a lot to me.
Have a great weekend.