Overview:

When you start thinking audience first, you begin to realize the value of the audience is incredibly different: 10 readers who each consume one pageview is far less valuable than one reader who consumes 10 pageviews. On top of subscriptions and memberships, driving engagement and audience relationships delivers value far beyond the reader revenue line.

A recent read discussed here at BlueLena was A Media Operator’s article, A Pivot to Subs Requires Full Company Buy In. The point of the article is that every department at a news publication needs to be in the loop about subscription priorities: newsrooms, product, engineering, etc. 

We’ll add to this that, generally, and especially in our sector of the industry, a subscription business is not at odds with an advertising business. Jacob, the author, alludes to that, but he never makes it explicit. 

It is often thought to be a conflict, but only because of the nature of digital advertising in the “everything’s free” version of the internet. Few thought critically about their audience, and pageviews was the only metric that mattered. This was wrong, but it was easy to overlook because traffic came easy in the early days of search and social, and no one thought those sources would close the tap. 

In that world of pageviews first, 10 pageviews is 10 pageviews. When you start thinking audience first, you begin to realize the value of the audience is incredibly different: 10 readers who each consume one pageview is far less valuable than one reader who consumes 10 pageviews. Regardless of a subscription model, that one reader is worth more, because the consumption is sustainable — they’re coming back day after day, and you don’t need to spend resources to reacquire them each day. 

We’re not just driving subscriptions and memberships, we’re driving engagement and the audience relationship — which delivers value far outside the reader revenue line.