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Asociación Técnica de Diarios Latinoamericanos
Boletín Semanal junio 23, 2019

Esto es lo que usted necesita saber sobre la suscripción digital de solo deportes del Kansas City Star

You asked for it, and we’re delivering.

The Kansas City Star has launched Sports Pass: a sports-only digital subscription for those who want to stay up to date on everything in the Kansas City-area sports scene.

For $30 a year — just $2.50 a month — Sports Pass is your ticket to everything sports-related on Kansascity.com. As a subscriber, you will have unlimited digital access to every sports story The Star publishes, with no limits.

With football season right around the corner, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the opportunity.

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News moves fast. So do we.

Try unlimited digital access today for only 99¢

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The Star is publishing dozens of stories, videos and photos around the clock each week on the sports teams and topics you care about the most.

Financial Times tendrá un millón de suscriptores el año próximo

The Financial Times believes it will complete its “march to a million” journey to 1 million paid subscribers next year after a positive response to a change in its access model.

The FT revealed it now has 930,000 paid subscribers, with 740,000 of those (79.6%) being digital subscribers and the remaining 190,000 having a print-only deal. Digital subscription is up 11% year-on-year and overall subscription by 7%.

The realisation of the longstanding 1 million target would be a significant vindication of a paywall strategy that began with its first digital subscriptions in 2002 and continued in 2007 with the introduction of the FT’s first metered-paywall. Its chief executive, John Ridding, recently recalled how that decision met with a “pretty hostile” response from digital futurists, who warned the paper that “the internet wants to be free”.

In reality, that 16-year quest behind the paywall has been conducted without a definitive map. The FT has tweaked and re-tweaked its navigational dials as evolving technology has given it new insights into reader behaviour and the paths it must travel to find new audiences.

The metered paywall, which gave registered readers three articles free per month before they were asked to pay, gave way in 2015 to a “reach and return” strategy that increases accessibility through paid-for trials that allow new readers to sample the content with one month’s access for just £1 (or $1), in the hope they will develop a habit. Pedlars of addictive substances might nod knowingly at such an approach.

The trials are still offered but the FT model is being honed. Most new users hit a hard paywall. But, rather than making a demand for credit card details, it offers the potential subscriber (known as “prospects”), a sample of FT-content matched to the subject of the original piece they alighted on.

The approach is bearing fruit, says Fiona Spooner, the FT’s global marketing director B2C, as she explains the paper’s growth strategy to The Drum. "To get us to the one million, (we must) make sure we have the right access model,” she says. “We have recently changed our acquisition campaigns to include much more of the content. It’s the product people need to see – what the value of that subscription is and what they need to be reading.”

Rather than a blunt “call to action” (ie a request for money), readers are tempted with more of the FT’s wares, according to their personal interest and geographical region. “If they are reading about Brexit we talk to them about what Brexit coverage they can read if they subscribe, or in the US we talk about the value of a subscription for a US reader.”

Spooner says she expects the FT to reach its seven-figure target next year. “On our march to a million, the number we are on at the moment is 930,000. [The 1 million figure] is something that we are really excited about and is a significant milestone for us.”

US marketing drive gets underway

While such a big number is unparalleled in UK news publishing it is less impressive in the American market in which the FT also operates. The rival Wall Street Journal is homing in on 3 million subscribers (across the Dow Jones portfolio of which it is the flagship). The New York Times has grown to 3.8 million subscribers (2.9 million digital) and its chief executive Mark Thompson (the former director-general of the BBC) said this month that he believed there remains “significant runway to expand that base substantially”.

The FT also thinks that America offers major potential for growth. It has had its “Open Minds” campaign slogan for its FT Weekend edition on continual display in Times Square, as part of a “city-centric” marketing drive that began in Manhattan and is being extended to Washington and then to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago over the next six months.

“We are seeing really high engagement from the US audience and a growth in digital subs,” says Spooner. “We have also been price testing there because we have a lot of competition but we think that we are that non-partisan view that the US audience is really looking for at the moment.”

She says that the high-profile Trump era marketing campaigns by serious American titles are valuable to the sector as a whole, and “help consumers understand the value of paying for good content”. The FT sees itself as “complementary to those other publications” as an additional read, as well as a head-on competitor.

As part of its US push, the FT is pursuing a first click free strategy that it doesn’t offer universally. Its use of a “dynamic barrier” that shows American prospect subscribers a personalised range of the FT’s content has increased conversions by 17% in its first month. Spooner claims that the paper is only “scratching the surface” in terms of its potential reach in the US, which already generates the FT’s largest digital audience by country. In the US the FT has recorded 38% digital revenue growth year on year, and 19% print revenue growth.

Last month the FT, now owned by the Japanese publisher Nikkei, reported global operating profits above £20m, double those for the previous year.

Also revealed was a £510,000 pay rise for Ridding, whose annual compensation of £2.6m caused some dismay on the newsroom floor. The chief executive – who was formerly the paper’s deputy editor and Hong Kong bureau chief – later announced he would be reinvesting his pay rise into the paper “to support the advancement of women into more senior roles”.

Female and teenage audience grows

Women readers are a potential audience “growth opportunity” for the FT, says Spooner. The paper is already increasing its female readership at a faster rate (16% year-on-year) than its male one (up by 11% year on year).

This is partly due to the Long Story Short newsletter, which launched last year and has proved popular with women readers (with a 35% female readership, compared to 24% across all FT newsletters).

Introduced at the top of the newsletter by female FT journalists, and carrying their byline headshots, Long Story Short links to some of their favourite FT stories of the week. It has a 50% open rate (compared to 31% among other FT newsletters) and a 9.92% click-through rate (compared to around 3% for other FT newsletters).

School subscriptions are another important part of the FT future strategy. Introduced last year at the suggestion of a 16-year-old intern, Krishan Puvvada, the free subscriptions have so far been extended to 20,000 16 to 19-year-olds attending 2,000 schools worldwide, under a scheme sponsored by Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi UFJ. “We thought it was a great idea,” says Spooner. “We want people to read great journalism from a young age and… it wasn’t a quantum leap to make from the FT being a business tool to also being an education tool.”

The paper hopes to deepen relationships with readers – and existing and potential new subscribers – on 8 September when FT Weekend stages its third annual festival, across nine themed stages at London’s Kenwood House Gardens. FT editor Lionel Barber, deputy editor Roula Khalaf and star writers Martin Wolf and Gillian Tett will attend alongside a line-up of political, media and lifestyle figures including TV chef Yotam Ottolenghi and anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

Having “loads of engaged customers in one place” is a chance not simply to acquire new subscribers but to give existing ones an experience that might mean they become advocates for the brand, Spooner says. For the first time the festival will have a distinct area for subscribers, where they can meet FT staff. “The thing they really get excited by is access to the journalists and the festival is a great chance for them to meet them.”

Spooner has been with the company when the first metered paywall went up and the FT began its odyssey of digital experimentation. She was made head of digital subscription acquisition in 2010 and has been refining the model to hit sometimes “slightly daunting targets” for the past eight years. “I would never have imagined (in 2010) that I would be sitting here working to a target of a million one day,” she says. “The fact that it’s within our reach is really exciting.”

Podrán los medios digitales llenar el vacío de los medios impresos

A few years ago, when former Washington Post editor Jim Brady departed Digital First Media — a media management company that owns more than 50 newspapers across 12 states — he left with a desire to focus on local news.

Brady found that it was a tough concept to pursue when a news organization was owned by a larger company or had a long legacy, so he formed two small digital startups, one based in Philadelphia and the other in Pittsburgh in 2014 and 2016, respectively.

Billy Penn (named after the state’s founder) and The Incline now both aim to fulfill their creator's mission to cover local news.

“We want to make it clear that the decline of newspapers is not the same thing as the decline of local journalism,” said Brady, a self-described “local news geek,” who emphasized the importance of school board meetings and visits to City Hall.

Former New York Daily News editorial staff members Carla Roman and Reggie Lewis depart the newspaper's Manhattan office after reports that the paper was reducing its editorial staff by some 50 percent in New York on July 23, 2018.Brendan McDermid / Reuters

And Brady’s business and approach appears to be expanding. His company, Spirited Media, acquired Denverite, a small digital newsroom in Denver, Colorado, last year.

There are a growing number of digital media startups, like Brady’s, that are taking the place of traditional community news organizations, but questions remain whether they can fill the news vacuum growing across the United States. It's not clear if these companies can ever be economically solvent, as some turn to for-profit models and others pursue nonprofit avenues.

It is indisputable, however, that newspapers throughout the country are disappearing or — at the very least — shrinking, as shown by the recent layoffs at the New York Daily News when its parent company Tronc gutted its newsroom, ending the employment of almost half its staff.

Brady's former employer Digital First Media owns the Denver Post, which has laid off nearly two-thirds of its staff via numerous cuts, declining from its peak of nearly 300 people.

And that trend line shows no sign of shaking. According to the Pew Research Center, U.S. daily newspaper circulation — print and digital combined — fell an estimated 11 percent in one year to 31 million in 2017. That’s half of the readership that newspapers enjoyed in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

It is print where the bleeding is most severe, however, as nearly 1,800 local newspapers have closed their doors since 2004, according to a 2017 study conducted by the University of North Carolina’s Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media.

And while many stories will now go uncovered in New York City with the Daily News' layoffs, the situation is much worse in small towns and rural communities where newspaper markets were based on county lines, townships and other small community-based jurisdictions.

Copies of the New York Daily News are for sale at a news stand in New York on July 23, 2018, after the paper told employees that the newspaper is reducing its editorial staff by 50 percent.Mark Lennihan / AP

Al Cross, the director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky, noted that these local news organizations attended city council meetings, asked their mayors tough questions and held county commissioners accountable.

“What happens when people aren’t being watched?” he asked. “As they say, when the cat’s away, the mice will play.”

And Cross is skeptical that new digital startups will have the bandwidth to cover such issues outside of large population centers, where Brady’s websites are located.

The small-town newspapers with circulations of fewer than 20,000 are the markets taking the biggest hits in recent years, according to the UNC study.

"The worst thing that can happen to a local community is for it to lose its school, the next worst thing is to lose its newspaper," Cross said. "Schools give communities something to rally around, something for everybody to have in common. A newspaper is somewhat similar. If it’s doing its job right, it's appealing to everyone in the community and covers everyone in the community without fear or favor and gives their community its identity."

For now it seems that the new digital startups are attempting to prove they are financially viable before they move further into small communities.

In February, the Local Media Association surveyed nearly 200 media leaders in charge of small digital operations. That included those new startups as well as the more traditional newspaper, TV and radio organizations.

"At the end of the day you’re not going to improve local journalism without local journalists."

Most agreed that the future is digital, but also found that there was not a coherent financial strategy to make them solvent. And fewer than a quarter of them said they were adequately staffed to meet their revenue goals.

Brady was able to expand his reporting staff and hire a Pennsylvania statehouse reporter thanks to Report for America. This nonprofit aims to make journalism a part of a national service program and add 1,000 working reporters to local newsrooms by 2022. This past year the group placed nine reporters out of about 740 applicants. Eighty-five organizations across the country applied for placement.

Report for America pays for half of their fellows' salaries for the first year and a quarter the following year. They group will accept new applications from interested journalists and media organizations on Aug. 1.

"In the past five or 10 years, there’s been a lot about how technology is going to save journalism, and a lot of that is partly true," said Steve Waldman, the nonprofit's co-founder. "But we’ve now discovered that none of that matters if there’s not enough reporters. At the end of the day you’re not going to improve local journalism without local journalists."

And so, as newspapers continue to decline, there are those digital newsrooms that are beginning to staff up, according to the Pew Research report.

Between 2014 and 2017, the number of newsroom employees working in the newspaper sector dropped by 15%; for the digital native sector there was little change.

Some of those companies make money through subscriptions, others look to advertising, but Brady said he just wants to make his organization a necessary member of the community and believes they can sustain themselves that way.

That means they rely on the kindness of their readers, and they average between $110 and $125 annually per individual donation. They also try to host events and look their readers in the eye and not worry too much about clicks.

"You make money when you do work that people appreciate and like," Brady said. "The ad business is not really aligned with that. When you’re worried about page views and impressions, you’re more likely to get that through celebrity-acting-badly stories than covering the school board or local politics."

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