Why you don't need ads to monetize your media company

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Why Andrew Sullivan’s new paywall experiment will outlive his last one

Between 2013 and 2015, Andrew Sullivan generated up to $1 million per year through his blog. But though his paywall was regarded as a victory for independent journalism, it had several fatal flaws. His new paywall will be much more successful. [Simon Owens]

All The Ways To Make Money In Media Without Ads

When someone complains about how Facebook/Google have destroyed the advertising market for publishers, point them to this list of alternative business models. [Medium]

The list is pretty comprehensive, but I think there are two models he missed:

1. Ebooks/books: Publishers repackaging their articles into a book format and selling them on an on-demand basis.

2. Lead gen: In this scenario, a brand will sponsor the creation of some kind of PDF white paper, and the publisher will lock access to the PDF behind an email gate. The publisher then hands over all the email addresses to the brand that sponsored the white paper. I don't think this counts as advertising because in a lot of cases the brand doesn't have any control over the content in the white paper.

That Andrew Sullivan article I linked above took me days to research and write

I had to comb through hundreds of articles published over the span of two decades and also spent a significant amount of time reading through Sullivan’s old blog archives. I don’t monetize articles like that through advertising; I rely entirely on paid subscriptions to this newsletter. Subscribing not only supports my work, but it also gets you case study interviews with successful media entrepreneurs delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe at the link below and get 10% off for your first year.

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OnlyFans Is a Billion-Dollar Media Giant Hiding in Plain Sight

A great deep dive into OnlyFans's rapid growth and its attempts to branch out into non-adult content. [Bloomberg]

What ecommerce publishers learned from the busiest five-day shopping stretch of the year

It shouldn't be too surprising that publishers saw a Covid-induced surge in ecommerce sales. The question is whether that trend continues long after the pandemic is contained. [Digiday]

Running a paid newsletter with Simon Owens

I was recently interviewed about the paid newsletter space. We went deep on several topics, including how to choose a newsletter platform, what strategies work best, and how I structure my own work week. [Newsletter Crew]

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