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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How Stratechery founder Ben Thompson built a one-person newsletter that generates about $3 million and became the envy of journalists
I think there's an argument to be made that Ben Thompson is the world's highest-paid opinion columnist. [Business Insider]
How Jeff Bezos' Washington Post is taking on Google and Facebook with 'insanely unique' ad technology for publishers
The Washington Post's CMS is now used by over 1,000 publishers. Its advertising tech is now used by 100 publishers. You could almost think of WashPo as the incubation hub for a tech company with much wider ambitions. [Press Gazette]
Why this digital publisher launched a twice-yearly print magazine
If you launch a new publication today, chances are it’ll be online only. Print has its advantages, but it can be extremely expensive to produce, and digital publications tend to have much lower overhead.
And so when Innovation Leader, a $695-a-year subscription publisher focused on corporate innovation, launched in 2013, it went the digital-only route. But then in 2015, it changed course, launching a twice-yearly print magazine that it sent out to its already-existing subscribers and a list of prospects.
I interviewed the publication’s co-founder Scott Kirsner about why he went the print route, the role the magazine plays in reducing subscriber churn, and how he adapted the magazine for a pandemic era when most of his subscribers no longer commute to their offices.
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Google says its News Showcase will add free access to paywalled stories
This at least seems like a more coherent strategy than what we've seen thus far from Facebook News. [TechCrunch]
Amazon in Talks to Buy Podcast Maker Wondery
Amazon's move into podcasting shouldn't be underestimated. Audible has millions of already-existing users who are already primed for listening to spoken word. This isn't another Luminary. [WSJ]
How Shelby Hartman brought journalistic rigor to psychedelics media
A good profile of a bootstrapped media startup that developed a really interesting business model. [Medialyte]
Spotify says it’s dominating the podcasting market because of a million-plus tiny podcasts
The Joe Rogan deal got most of the press coverage, but one could argue that the Anchor acquisition was Spotify's most consequential deal to date. [The Verge]
Watch Whisperer Hodinkee Clocks $40 Million Investment
A $40 million investment at a $100 million valuation for a news website that covers watches. VCs usually only invest if they can get 10X their investment. Will a watch website be worth $1 billion? What am I missing here? [WSJ]
Content strategy. Audience development strategy. Monetization strategy
These are all consulting services I can offer to your organization. Read more about how I can help you on a more one-to-one basis over here: [link]
Facebook News still a non-factor in publishers’ plans
I still don't understand the point of Facebook News outside of inefficiently funneling a small amount of money toward publishers. [Digiday]
Politico stars plot new Playbook
This marks the second time Politico created journalism stars only for them to quit and launch their own newsletter competitors (the first was Axios). [Axios]
Inside Patch's new local newsletter platform
Wow, this seems like it could be a big deal. Patch created a self-service ad platform that integrates with newsletters. Makes it much easier for indie newsletter writers to sell ads without wasting time making deals. [Axios]
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