Settle into your first Friday of 2013 with our picks from this week’s media news:
1. An Ad-Free Publishing Model — Can It Work?
Andrew Sullivan’s new company – Dish Publishing – plans to operate ad-free, earning money entirely through subscription revenue. This way he is “solely responsible to readers” and not subject to pursuing ad revenue. A bold business model, but with 12,000 subscribers and a third of a million dollars in under 24 hours, it just might work. While Sullivan admits that “we don’t know if it’s even going to work for us yet,” he voices optimism that a similar model could also be “scalable with a smaller blog.”
2. Publishing Challenges for 2013
“2012 was a year of lessons for many publishers” – and 2013 will bring several big challenges. These include: figuring out a strategy for “big data,” becoming (or not) a data-driven sales organization, moving beyond the banner ad and into custom content, finding appropriate strategies for mobile, and learning to deliver content via video. Digiday cites several examples, with “even old timers, like The Economist and The Atlantic” moving into custom content, and big-name publishers (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Huffington Post) approaching video “with vigor.”
3. Hearst Announces 800,000 Digital Subscriptions
Hearst Magazines announced nearly 800,000 digital subscriptions in 2012, “the highest in the industry” but still short of the company’s ambitious goal of reaching 1 million digital subs last year. And digital is bringing in a new audience: “More than 80 percent of our digital subscribers are new to our files,” wrote Hearst Magazines president David Carey. Hearst is also making great strides in mobile: the company reached 186 million monthly mobile page views by the end of 2012, way up from 39 million in 2011.
Which stories caught your eye in media this week?