Why bundled subscriptions won’t save the news industry

Welcome! I'm Simon Owens and this is my tech and media newsletter. If you've received it then you either subscribed or someone forwarded it to you. If you fit into the latter camp, then you can subscribe over here. Or just click on this handy little button:

In this week’s issue we talk about why news bundles have struggled to gain traction while TV and music bundles like Netflix and Spotify have seen so much success. I also announce some changes to the newsletter. Let’s jump right into it…

Why bundled subscriptions won’t save the news industry

There’s a crowded field of apps that attempt to bundle news at a low, affordable price. The most famous of these is Apple News+. In theory, news bundles should be hugely popular, but this doesn’t seem to actually be the case. [link]

Heads up about some changes to this newsletter

So longtime readers of this newsletter know that I publish many of my articles to Medium. I experimented with publishing some articles behind the Medium paywall, but the payouts I received weren’t very large, so I ended that experiment after a month and continued publishing in front of the paywall.

But here’s the thing: because Medium is so focused on growing its paying subscriber base, it treats its non-paywalled writers like red-headed step children. So even though I have close to 10,000 followers on Medium, most of them don’t see my articles in their feeds when they visit the Medium homepage.

I’ve decided to start publishing articles directly as Substack newsletters. That means an entire article will be delivered to your inbox, but you can also just click on the headline and read a web version if you’d like. Why am I doing this? Because 100% of people who sign up for my Substack newsletter actually receive it. I’m tired of giving away my content to platforms that then seek to siphon off my distribution as soon as it’s convenient for them.

So anyway, this will be an ongoing experiment where I try to figure out the formatting of the newsletter. Thanks for bearing with me.

Other news:

The cynical person in me reads this news about LinkedIn's changes to its algorithm as meaning it's about to get even more aggressive with sending users annoying notifications. [link]

Verizon Media Group, the entity that combined AOL and Yahoo, seems to be pivoting to ecommerce. [link]

2009: "We pay our writers based on the number of pageviews they generate.” 2019: "We pay our writers based on the number of paying subscribers they generate." [link]

I think it's really only a matter of time before every TV show has an official corresponding podcast. [link]

A great write-up on the demise of Babe dot net. I can't say that I'll be mourning its loss. [link]


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