The Newspack-BlueLena partnership will help Newspack augment the already formidable suite of publishing tools it offers to small and medium-sized publishers.
Republished from PR Newswire
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Newspack, a unit of WordPress.com that serves over 150 independent news publishers, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a business agreement with BlueLena, a technology and marketing services startup that helps media operators develop successful subscription, membership and donation models.
The business agreement coincides with parent company Automattic Inc.’s decision to lead BlueLena’s first investment round. It was joined in the investment by the Local Media Association, a news industry trade association that focuses on reinventing business models for news.
The Newspack-BlueLena partnership will help Newspack augment the already formidable suite of publishing tools it offers to small and medium-sized publishers. Both companies expect the agreement will help them acquire new customers.
Newspack was formed three years ago with support from the Google News Initiative, the John S and James L. Knight Foundation, and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism to help independent digital publishers manage their technology needs at an affordable price.
BlueLena was founded in 2020 by news media veterans experienced in subscription and membership management systems, digital audience development and marketing services for small to large publications.
“We both share a goal of helping small, independent publishers find a path to sustainability in a financially challenging media landscape,” said Kinsey Wilson, founder and head of the Newspack project. And BlueLena is ideally positioned to advance that goal.”
BlueLena has signed more than 150 customers who use a wide variety of content management systems. Like Newspack, BlueLena’s client base represents a diverse mix of nonprofit and for profit newsrooms, including members of the Local Media Association, the Black Press Association, the National Association of Hispanic Press, LION Publishers, the Institute for Nonprofit News and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia.
“BlueLena was created to deliver world-class technology and marketing expertise affordably and at-scale, specifically for small-to-midsize publishers,” said Daniel Williams, founder and CEO of BlueLena. “Newspack’s publishing platform and LMA’s leadership will allow us to support more publishers and accelerate their paths to long-term financial sustainability.”
Newspack, which offers a comprehensive hosted service, is currently priced at between $750-$2,500 a month depending on a publication’s annual revenue. BlueLena starts at $750 a month. Under the terms of the business agreement, Newspack customers will receive a discount off of BlueLena’s standard rate card.
The business proposition for both companies is similar: provide local news publishers with access to some of the same tools that are typically only available to larger organizations and incorporate editorial and business best practices to help local news organizations find a path to a more sustainable economic future.
The Local Media Association, which joined Automattic in its investment in BlueLena, has a similar mission and earlier this week announced that it was launching a business and technology initiative with 26 Black-owned news outlets financed by the Knight Foundation. The effort builds on an initial project with five black publishers, most of whom are currently on Newspack.
“Technology is the biggest roadblock when it comes to digital transformation,” said Nancy Lane, CEO, Local Media Association. “That’s why we’re investing in a company, in line with our mission to reinvent business models for news, that can make an immediate impact for small to midsize local media organizations. We’re also excited to do this alongside Automattic, especially with the integration of Newspack’s publishing platform.”
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