Daily Clips: News Publishers Are Using Non-News Content To Hook Readers

February 25, 2022

Why News Publishers Are Using Non-News Content To Hook Readers And Turn Them Into Subscribers

“If you were to look at the stories that drove the most subscriptions in 2020 versus the stories that drove the most subscriptions in 2021, you’d see more stories that are lifestyle and general interest in 2021, whereas 2020 was more politics and COVID,” said Nick Thompson, CEO of The Atlantic.

Some publishers, like Gannett, Salon and The Atlantic, have not only noted these changes, but have begun acting on those reader impulses to hopefully drive traffic back to other areas of their sites in order to build loyalty and convince those readers to become paid subscribers. Among the actions they’ve taken are creating content specific landing pages and investing in producing more stories for those subjects, as well as closely tracking which portion of readers are returning to those categories.

“What has been done”, Thompson said, “is testing the site’s recirculation algorithm — the formula for suggesting which articles a reader should click on next in the side bars and below a story — because data shows that readers who visit more than one vertical are more likely than not to subscribe. No one test has successfully yielded impactful results, but it is an area that The Atlantic will continue experimenting with”, he added.

US Publishers Fight For Australia-Style Legislation To Force Google And Meta To Pay For News

Ahead of a Senate debate on the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) this week, several regional publishers wrote letters explaining why new laws are “urgently needed” to solve America’s local news “crisis”. With Canada and the UK edging towards similar legislation of their own, one publishing boss warned that the US will “fall behind many other democracies around the world” if it does not pass the JCPA.

David Chavern, chief executive of the NMA, told Press Gazette: “There has been a basic bill that has been introduced both in the Senate and in the House. It’s very basic. It allows news publishers to collectively negotiate. “We have since– in particular after the experience in Australia – had a lot of interest from folks on the hill to augment the bill – to actually add in how negotiations would occur, more structure around the negotiations, more definition about who would be included, and more structure around dispute resolution”.

Shrinking Printed Newspapers Are Changing To Survive

As newspapers are losing advertising revenue to the Internet and other competition, the survivors are innovating to keep in business and keep reporting the news. Hundreds of thousands of newspapers roll off printing presses in South Carolina nearly every day. But those printing days are fewer than they once were, and the number of papers printed is smaller than it once was. Nationwide, the newspaper industry has been shrinking for years, at least as far as the number of printed copies is concerned.

University of South Carolina journalism Professor Michele Laroche added to the list of reasons for the decline, and said the bottom line for these closings is money, or the lack of it. “You can see in the last few years, especially with COVID, how companies have had to cut back on advertising, and it becomes a slippery slope to the bottom because as you lose subscribers, advertisers have less incentive to advertise, so it just kinda snowballs,” she said. Another cause Laroche cited is that “a lot of small newspapers took on debt in the last couple of decades, and so they maybe could be self-sufficient without that debt. But with that debt there’s too many expenses for them to cover.”

The news is not all bad, however. Madden said two local papers actually started up last year, and in other places, closings didn’t take place, but change – which is inevitable in any industry – did. “Instead of closing…the Lexington County Chronicle paper was sold to the folks that own the Sumter Item. We also have the Bennettsville paper sold to a company in North Carolina. So there are closures, but there are also a lot of good things happening. We’ve seen some start-ups. So I think we’re always an industry in flux.”

Inside Facebook’s $10 Billion Breakup With Advertisers

Facebook was long one of the surest bets in digital advertising. No longer. Martha Krueger, who runs a gift-basket business called Giften Market, used to spend her entire advertising budget on Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram. She picked up a new customer for every $14 she spent. When Apple Inc. introduced a privacy feature for mobile devices last year that restricts user tracking, she said, her costs to acquire such customers rose 10-fold. In October, she shifted her whole ad budget to search ads on Alphabet Inc.’s Google.

Lots of other companies that depend on e-commerce sales, including makers of nutritional powders, eyebrow stencils and toilet sprays, are taking a look at their bottom lines and deciding the same thing. They are slashing their spending on Facebook and Instagram and sending their ad money to Google, Amazon.comInc., Snap Inc. and other platforms, according to ad buyers and e-commerce companies.

Google this week unveiled its own proposal to curtail tracking of users across apps on Android devices, potentially exacerbating Meta’s challenges. “Facebook has known for some time that they operated at the whim of the platforms on which consumers access their app,” said Ari Paparo, an advertising-technology executive who sold his company to Comcast Corp. “And now those platforms are changing the rules, and there’s little they can do about it.”


Daily Clips is a culmination of various articles from an array of news sources on topics spanning from news to tech