The encouraging rise of media cooperatives

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Audience-first publishing: The pivot to subs is really a pivot to content

There's some good analysis here on how publishers are reevaluating the value of content and the people who create it as they pivot to subscriptions. [The Rebooting]

Publishers ready for rocketing ad spending from streamers in 2021

Apparently websites that cover the entertainment industry are seeing a huge influx of advertising revenue from streaming giants that are spending big to acquire customers. [Digiday]

A former Bon Appétit food editor's new subscription-based business is a blueprint for anyone wanting freedom, creative control, and thousands of subscribers in just a month

I love these stories of journalists leaving their corporate media jobs so they can capture more of the revenue their work generates. [Business Insider]

He amassed 5,000 subscribers for one of New Zealand’s first paid newsletters

In a recent article, I noted that the year 2020 “saw the creation of a market for independent internet writing, one that allows journalists and essayists to make a full-time living without the aid of traditional media companies.” Though many factors played into this, including the Covid-19 recession, it’s probably not a coincidence that most of the successful indie writers monetize their work through Substack. The newsletter platform made charging for paywalled content incredibly easy, allowing its writers to focus most of their efforts on amassing their “1,000 true fans.”

But what if you were trying to launch a paid newsletter prior to the invention of Substack? That’s the dilemma Bernard Hickey faced in 2012. He’d built a large fan base while covering finance and business news for New Zealand’s largest newspapers, and that year he wanted to see if he could erect a scalable business that charged readers for premium content.

To do so, he sunk tens of thousands of dollars into building a tech stack that enabled readers to subscribe to his content. He then had to convince his followers to pay for his newsletter — not an easy thing to accomplish in an online environment where most content was available for free. Despite these hurdles, Hickey managed to generate over 5,000 subscribers, some of whom were paying upward of $29 a month to read his reporting and analysis.

I recently interviewed Hickey about how he grew that business, where he found his customer base, and why he ultimately decided to shut down the newsletter and pivot to something new.

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A cool news cooperative just launched

It's really encouraging to see more and more of these worker-owned media cooperatives launching. It's never been easier for a group of journalists to band together and form a life-raft that allows them to escape the predatory confines of corporate media. [Brick House]

With 100 billion hours watched on YouTube for gaming, the site prepares for global growth

More than 350 YouTube creators have over 10 million subscribers. That's just incredible to think about. The population of NYC is 8.3 million. Many of those creators have no official connection to mainstream media or Hollywood. [WashPo]


I think one of the incredible things about Substack is how much attention it receives despite being a relatively tiny company. It's a fraction of the size of a Facebook or a Twitter, yet it's talked about constantly. Its earned media is off the charts. [The Verge]

Thanks Rick!

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