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The Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina grew its digital subscriptions by 250% (from 1,700 to 6,000) between 2017 to 2019, reports Digiday. It did so after shifting focus from pageviews to measuring time spent and engaged minutes.

The importance of reliable engagement metrics is increasing across the publishing industry. The Financial Times uses an engagement score based on the mix of recency + frequency + volume as its North Star metric.

The Wall Street Journal measures “active days” — the number of days a reader engages with content. …


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Comparing the economic health of national news outlets to their local counterparts almost feels like you’re comparing two entirely different industries.

On the one hand you have the national publishers. While digital natives like Vox, BuzzFeed, and Business Insider have had their stumbles, all reportedly turned a profit in 2019. And traditional newspapers like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Financial Times, and even The Guardian all reported record digital revenue, with The Wall Street Journal joining the vaunted 2 Million Digital Subscriber Club.

On the other hand, you have local newspapers, with each seemingly facing more dire economic circumstances than the last. The situation was accentuated most recently when McClatchy announced that its chain of over 30 newspapers had filed for bankruptcy. While the economic health of each newspaper varies, few have completely escaped layoffs or massive retrenchment. …


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Mozilla’s Firefox browser has begun to encrypt domain names by default.

This will ensure that a user’s website browsing history cannot be accessed by third parties without either informing the user or publishing a policy about what they do with that information.

“We’re basically saying FU to attackers on the network and 3rd parties who have access to data that ties your computer to the sites you visit,” Firefox said, rather colorfully, in a tweet announcing the feature.

“Firefox began the rollout of encrypted DNS over HTTPS (DoH) by default for US-based users,” the company announced. …


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In developing eCommerce strategies, it makes strategic sense for publishers to identify propositions which build on their existing relationship with audiences. In a crowded market place, trust and name recognition are valuable commodities.

Because of this, arguably, the best eCommerce products are logical brand extensions. They understand, and anticipate, the user journey.

Historically, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti recently argued, media companies have not done a good job of this. There is, he argued:

“….a longstanding problem in the media industry where content creators provide the inspiration to buy a new product, go on a vacation, or watch a new show–but don’t capture much of the economic value created. This is sometimes referred to as the “attribution problem,” where Google and other middlemen end up capturing value they didn’t create. …


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Data growth leads to higher programmatic investment, enabling automated buying

According to IAB’s Brand Disruption 2020 report released this week, US programmatic ad spend has grown to almost $79 billion, an 87% increase since the first year benchmarked in the report, 2017.


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“Traffic to the top 100 sites globally reached 223B monthly visits in 2019,” according to Similarweb’s 2020 Digital Trends report.

“While the volume is impressive on its own, it’s even more powerful, knowing that this is an 8% increase over 2018, and a nearly 12% increase over 2017.

“This growth is mostly fueled by mobile web which saw traffic increase by an astounding 30.6% since 2017,” comments Similarweb’s Liron Hakim Bobrov. Desktop traffic on the other hand, reduced by 3.3% during the same period.


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Powerhouse business and tech publishers The Information and Bloomberg Media have come together to offer a joint subscription to both titles in a trial which could see a longer term partnership established between the two publishers.

At present, annual subscriptions cost up to $749 at The Information, and $475 at for an All Access pass to Bloomberg. The combined package offered by the publishers is $499 for the year, which includes access to exclusive subscriber newsletters, video calls, apps, podcasts, and the paywalled reporting across both sites.


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For many publishers, a key priority for the year ahead involves growing revenues from readers. This is nothing new. In recent years, the rise of paywalls and move to subscriptions has been a major trend across the media landscape.

However, despite this focus, publishers need to ask tough questions about the potential — and sustainability — of this income stream. So, what do we know about the subscription landscape, and what questions should publishers be asking themselves?

In this two part series, we look at the lie of the land and determine the most important strategic questions that publishers — large and small — need to address. …


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People who read 10 times a month are 50% less likely to churn, according to research by Twipe. The company, which specializes in products for publishers, has taken the latest research on how people form habits, and combined it with what several leading publishers, across Europe and the US, are doing to build reading habits and grow subscribers.

The findings are brought together in the latest report of its Reinventing Digital Editions research series, titled Habit Forming News Products. It provides best practices for publishers interested in increasing reader frequency.

“Key to transform behavior into habit”

The report advises publishers to find ways to incentivize subscribers to reach ten reading sessions per month. It adds that with each day read the likelihood of churning reduces by 37%. …


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Not everyone is a fan of the Facebook News Feed algorithm.

The algorithm ranks available posts that can display on a user’s News Feed based on various parameters known only to Facebook, and what the algo deems most relevant, the user might not.

In a tacit acknowledgment of this problem, the company is now considering adding tabs to the News Feed so users can choose to see it in chronological order, rather than as determined by the algorithm.

Reverse engineering specialist Jane Manchun Wong discovered this recent development in the Facebook for Android code. …

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